This past month Twitter became a public company; you and I can owe a piece of the technology phenomenon by buying stock on the NY Stock Exchange. It opened at $45.10, and last I checked, it was trading in the low $40s. If you happened to buy Facebook when it was first offered, you’d be looking at an almost 200 percent return – enjoy that in retirement. Let’s face it, technology has changed our lives. But has it all been for the better?
Technology has come a long way in the last century – we have flown, been to the moon, and are now able to compute and communicate like never before to a wide audience. But just like everything else, these great advances have come with challenges and even the potential to become an obsession. Have you ever been with a friend who seemed to be more into their phone than your conversation? We call it multitasking, as though that excuses our preoccupation. Multitasking is great in the office or while cleaning and taking care of your responsibilities, but while having dinner with a friend, it may seem insensitive. When the person on Facebook is more deserving of attention (especially if it is a “Facebook” friend and not a “face-to-face” friend) than the living, breathing friend across the table – then it is time to rethink our connection with technology.
Can you go whole day without your phone? What are the excuses that come to mind as you read this? Are they really valid?
My family got a new puppy this year. Harvey is a little Morkie puppy that is full of life and love. I have gotten into the habit of watching TV with my iPad; I like to look up things up while watching TV. I also play games and occasionally check Facebook. Harvey does not care about my iPad; he jumps up and gets between my technology and I and lays down. His actions have shown me something I hadn’t thought about – put down the technology and live in the now. Harvey communicates, “Watch me be cute, love you, and impress you with the tricks you taught me.”
Now, I have always been slightly annoyed when family and friends find their phone more interesting than me, but what I didn’t realize is that I do this too. I was missing out on what was going on around me and the beauty of the small moments. I like to sit on my front step in the summer where we have a hummingbird feeder. I missed the little guy or gal a couple times while playing a game on my iPad. The hummingbirds are amazing and the season seems so short, so I finally put the iPad away. If you sit still, they will come right up to you (one kind of scared me a little when he came right up to my face!) and make sure you are not a threat before they feed. A couple of them will actually perch on our feeder only a few feet away – why would I want to miss that?
What are you missing with your nose buried in your phone/tablet/laptop? Technology has its place, no doubt, but can you set it down? I actually started fasting things like the TV on weekdays and my iPad/iPhone on weekends (hey, I use this stuff for work!). I have found this liberating and it brings me peace, which is better than any information technology can provide. At the end of the day, I am what I spend my time on. The time away from distractions is when I allow myself to be introspective and allow the challenges of life to cause growth. Posting my struggles on Facebook will not do that, and it is just an opportunity for folks who don’t completely understand the situation to pipe in. Taking the opportunity to connect with my Creator “face to face” is more important than the technology in front of me.
What does your time with the Creator look like? Is God a Facebook “friend” or is he a face-to-face friend? When we engage in conversation on Facebook we are cautious with our posts; however, over a cup of coffee with a friend we enjoy a deep loving conversation. What is more enjoyable? What do you think God wants? God already knows your heart, so why not talk to him about your deepest thoughts: joys, struggles, hurts, and what brings you peace?
Technology has its place and can be a blessing, but make sure you control the technology, rather than the technology controlling you. And if you have broken out into cold sweats reading this, technology might just have control over you.