Living in an instant society

Reader Contribution by Brenda Kipp

Last night I was watching the news on a local station that I’ve watched ever since I can remember. On the night they were switching over from their analog signal to digital, they were also celebrating 55 years on the air. Practically the entire newscast was on the history of the station. It not only brought back memories, it made me realize just how far technology has come in the last 50 years.

Just today, someone sent me an e-mail with a humorous list describing how much we depend on technology. Here are some of the things on the list:

  • You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
  • You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.
  • You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
  • You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
  • Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that
    they don’t have e-mail addresses.
  • You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if
    anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
  • Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the
  • Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn’t have the
    first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and
    you turn around to go and get it.
  • You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your
  • You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

 Have we gotten spoiled or what? When I was growing up, there were no cell phones, microwaves or personal computers. What makes me think I can’t survive without them now? Sometimes I think my life would be less complicated without these items … or perhaps my life just seemed simpler in the days when these items didn’t exist.

I do think it’s conforting to have a cell phone at my disposal when I’m out and about and there’s not a phone in sight. I also think it’s great that I don’t have to wait two or three days for someone to get a message from me. However, I think cell phones can be overused and hand-written letters seem to be a thing of the past.

When I was in 9th grade, I signed up for a German pen pal. I would get so excited when I received a letter from her in the mail. Although our correspondence isn’t as regular as it used to be, my pen pal and I still keep in touch 38 years later.

For years I looked forward to the mail coming in hopes of getting a card or a letter from a friend. Now I can’t even get excited about going to the mailbox because most of my mail is either bills or junk. I still receive birthday and Christmas cards in the mail, but I don’t get as many as I used to.

There’s something very personal about a hand-written letter. I’m convinced the act of handwriting comes from a different part of the brain than typing. For me, writing something out by hand has more of a calming effect than typing (my typing, however, is easier to read).

We definitely live in an instant society where we don’t want to miss a phone call or wait for a letter to come in the mail, and I think it may have contributed to our inability to be patient with each other. Sometimes I would just like to retreat from the all the technology in my life and enjoy the simple life again.

But that will have to wait. I just got an email I need to answer … and my cell is ringing … oh, and I really should check my Facebook page!

How has technology changed your life? Do you wish for a simplier life or do you enjoy all the technological gizmos?

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