Have you ever considered all the ways technology has impacted our lives? Sure there’s the simple answer of keeping in touch with friends when you or they move away or being able to call family. What about other ways unique to you or lessons learned, but not expected? I thought I’d share some of my reflections with you on this sunny Friday afternoon. In no particular order…
Twitter: Using Twitter has helped me develop better communication skills. How? Because limiting myself to 120-140 characters forces me to practice being concise. I look for new vocabulary words and share the most vital aspects of my thoughts. It also has taught me to be a better listener. Instead of mindless nodding while someone shares a story or scanning the page for the keywords, I need to really consider what has been put out there before responding if I don’t want to look generic and insensitive.
YouTube: For over 20 years I hated the sound of my voice and I really didn’t like the way I looked on camera. Then YouTube went and got all popular and since I enjoy giving into peer pressure I started making videos. Through trial and error I become more comfortable with myself and enjoyed being able to express things to others through sound and moving picture.
Instagram: What a fun and pleasant surprise. Learning about this application from IPhone users I didn’t see the purpose. Can’t I see pictures on Facebook or blogs or Flikr? Then it came to Android and I tried it reluctantly. Little did I know I would learn to see the world in new ways. Beaches, food, babies, anything is suddenly a new angle! I constantly challenge myself by asking “What am I not noticing about this”?
Facebook: Using Facebook for the past 10+ years has taught me to ask “How important is this”? With the ability to post all day long using my phone, it’s so easy to want to share every thought, picture, video or whatever else comes across my mind or feed. Then I realize while my feed is my own, it’s also a part of the rest of the world. Is my impact helping or harming? Solidarity through an image is amazing. Knowing what’s happening local or far away before the official news stations is beyond what I imagined growing up. Bad weather? I check Facebook before the news stations. Bad traffic? Same. Royal wedding…OK you get the picture.
Pinterest: Good lord I need a better camera and some picture taking lessons. Ha. Also I never KNEW there were so many ways to recycle, or upcycle.
Phone: Currently I am using the HTC Rezound. Previously I was using the Droid Incredible and when it came time to upgrade with Verizon I learned 3G coverage was about to go away in my area. Well, not really ‘go away’, but I was told all efforts would be put into the 4G towers, so my service may not be so great. I decided to go for a phone with 4G. I knew I needed something where I could run tons of social media and my friend had the same phone and loved it. So far it’s been awesome in performance, maybe not too great with battery life. I recently bought a little power pack guy though and that’s been a life saver at conferences or long times without an outlet.
Computer:Long ago and far away (around 2009) I decided to buy a laptop. I’ve always been a sucker for “Black Friday” sales and one fateful day I received an email about a special before the big day. One of our first computers at my house was an Acer. We NEVER had issues with this thing. It was a grey/blue thing with big holes or what was probably vents on the side. I don’t know really, but I called it “the moon rock” and I loved using it for school projects or early encounters with AOL and message boards. My laptop now is an Acer and I continue my love affair with their products. The email announced a special computer only being released to Best Buy and it was a type of hybrid between a laptop and a notebook. As luck would have it I was working a half day or a late day or something so I was able to go to my local store. Under $300 later I had my first computer. If you ask my friends I complain a lot, but for the money I spent, my baby has towed the line for 4 years! 2.2 GHz processor, 2 GB DDR2, 160 GB HDD, DVD drive and lots of ports and other goodies. It also weighs about or fewer than 5 pounds. The mouse pad stopped working within the 1st month, but I like having a USB mouse better anyway. I’ve taken it on multiple trips and my only other complaint is battery life. It runs tons of programs with ease and looks great when watching media and plays games wonderfully too.
Ideally, my next computer will have touch screen, great battery life, great processing speed and every latest and greatest feature (including being lightweight). Then I look at what that’ll cost and I get sticker shock! Yikes! So, I’ll probably just remember to buy something basic and functional from Acer when I find another good sale.
Camera: I’ve always been a Canon girl. I currently use a basic point and shoot. The PowerShot SD1200 IS. I hate it. No seriously I do. I keep wishing something would happen to it so I have an excuse to get a new camera. It takes lovely pictures outside. It takes great action shots. It takes horrible pictures of people (especially me) and it doesn’t do well with indoor lighting. I’ve tried adjusting just about every aspect possible and it still doesn’t work well. If I have to adjust so much I might as well learn a DSLR or whatever.
You may be asking, how can you be a Canon girl and hate your camera? Well, previously I had a different Canon PowerShot and it was the best camera ever. I could do the worst set up for a photo and it would come back flawlessly. I swear it was possessed with magical features. It was bulky though and hard to carry with me on the go. Also eventually something went wrong and the lens no longer extended. Not to mention it used regular batteries and that became a pain.
Any suggestions on a new Canon? Should I try a new brand?
Real Life Experiences
Last but not least I wanna reflect on times where technology has impacted me and my crazy little life.
Anxiety: When I was dealing with INTENSE anxiety and palpitations before my heart procedure I would try to take deep breaths and pulled out my phone. I would scroll through Twitter or Facebook or Instagram and I would find by zoning out into the sea of friends and their lives I could calm myself down. I felt safe and I felt connected, which grounded me.
Crisis: When I had my medical procedures done it was my phone and social media that allowed me to feel connected to my running community even when I couldn’t set foot at training. When my friend had a stroke, Facebook told me, Facebook allowed her to know the hundreds of people who cared and Facebook let me know she was safe again.
Joy: Of course social media is there for watching friends and their children, but how has it been special to me? Without Facebook I wouldn’t have kept in touch with college classmates. You know the ones you have no problems with, but aren’t actually “let’s hang out” friends. Well, thanks to one of those friends, he knew I was job searching months after graduation, he knew his previous place of internship had posted a position and he emailed it to me. Thanks to this little piece of what some people consider “insincere friendship” I have a WONDERFUL job. For this point in my life, it is my dream job, a job where just today I was reflecting on all the ways I have grown in this position and may not have at another agency.
Sure this isn’t a complete list, but it’s so interesting to reflect upon I hope to maybe do another post down the line. What ways has technology changed you. What tools do you use? Do you think it brings us together or is it isolating? Is it simply a way to move your fitness journey along or is it a part of your every day life? Do you have any questions for me?