I will start by telling you that I like the ease of communicating through emails both professionally and with my family and friends. I love that we can receive photos (of grandchildren!) and documents as attachments, instead of them having to be sent by “snail mail”. The ability of typing into a computer to produce a document or letter is so convenient especially since I don’t have to use “Wite-Out ” on mistakes, and I can revise the copy as much as I want! I love when my computer, tablet and smartphone all work!
I remember when personal computers (PC’s) first came into use. We were promised that we would be working in paperless and more efficient offices. I don’t know about you, but I wonder what they were “smoking”.
I have found that I still print most documents because I don’t like reading from a screen, and I still save the email and documents just in case! The use of emails and other communication technologies have dramatically increased the expectations for response times. Am I wrong? Email and texts move with the speed of light (usually), and then I might get follow-up messages asking if I received the email.
I’m amazed at how many people, younger and older, have their phone in their hand while moving from one place to the next, and have to keep checking it to see if someone has responded, or better yet has texted asking for something so they can respond. Are things in our lives so urgent that we can’t even walk somewhere without being slave to our cell phones either in our hands or at our ear. Where did the ability to just “be” go?
When do we turn ourselves off to enjoy the moment, the person we are with, or the incredible sights of “mother nature”? What are we teaching our children and grandchildren? Must we be connected by technology all the time? How do you feel when the person you are with in a restaurant spends more time on their phone than talking to you, even if sometimes you may not care? Where has the concept of staying focused on what we are doing, or the person we speaking with, gone?
I have reached a point of “stopping dead” in the path of an oncoming “W-exter (what I call a person who texts while walking). If someone is walking down the street texting, and doesn’t have their eyes on where they are going, why should I have to move? And I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen someone step off a curb while W-exting. How dangerous is that? They just step into the path of an oncoming car. If we can be ticketed for driving and texting because it is distracting and causes accidents, why can’t W-exters also be ticketed for the same reasons?
Ok, back to technology. I have just gone through, what was for me, another technology nightmare. I received a new iPad for my birthday. I was so excited that I took it to the Apple store on my birthday, and asked for it to be set up. The person helping me asked if I wanted to be on the cloud. I didn’t know what it was but I thought if it was Cloud 649, yes I did. After he patiently explained it to me, I said yes and he started the process. I also have a MacBook Air, so I thought this was a great way of having my two apple products sync. The problem was he did something wrong in the set up process. After six days of, many calls to get help, going back to the store several times for service, and getting another new iPad, someone finally figured out the problem. In the meantime I did not have the use of my computer calendar and other functions.
Ok, now I am on the Cloud! Problem is that I still had my Blackberry and it was not new. I was not able to sync my Blackberry calendars, emails, etc. with my computer as I had been doing for years. After calling Rogers and Apple I finally called my computer angel and he told me I had a choice… don’t sync or get an iPhone so they could all work on iCloud. So guess what, after many more calls and technical issues I now have three Apple products that work together.
I know that times are changing and how we work is changing. I feel happy that some of the new technologies make my life easier. I just don’t want to continually have to stop what I am doing to learn how to use the new technologies that come through upgraded systems and software. I want to get the most out of the new technologies if I can really use them. I have enough stress in my life without technology related stress.
Insights I have had over the last number of years:
- In general, people are increasingly communicating in a less personal way such as texting, rather than meeting face-to-face or speaking on the phone. What is happening to relationship building whether personal or professional? You never know where a connection will lead.
- I like the KIS method: Keep It Simple. I don’t need all the technology to be productive and happy.
- We are all at different levels of understanding our technology. When an IT expert or electronic sales person tells me it’s simple, they don’t know who they are talking to. I have to ask them to go through the instructions step by step and not to assume I know any of the next steps!
- I will look for ways of doing my best without having to buy more and more products.
In the end, I love technology! I want it to work and once I get used to something I want to use it for a while. I love that I can communicate efficiently and swiftly locally and globally when things are working!
Contact Gina Rosen (firstname.lastname@example.org), Senior Associate, Coaching for Action Inc.