A Toyota commercial caught my eye the other day. The narrator is a young girl (about 18-20 maybe) and she is commenting on how she is worried about her parents—they have no life, no friends. She urged them to join Facebook and (OMG!) they only have 19 friends. The narrator herself has at least 872—and we then see her spending her time sitting alone sitting by her computer “chatting” with online friends about puppies and other things on the Internet. In the background, the non-social parents are out and about in their new car, going with friends to concerts and golf courses and such. I always chuckle at this commercial, at the daughter—and know in my heart that her parents are the ones really living life to the fullest. Then I cringe. After all, I do not really appreciate being so obviously a part of the 40-60 year old audience Toyota is targeting, but I obviously am.
I remind myself that I am not a luddite. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not! I may not have all the newest gadgets, but I am not averse to technology. I am not the really dumb unknowing Dad in a wifi cable commercial who has to be tricked into trying the wifi connection by his young daughter telling him he already has the invisible cord that will connect his computer to the Internet. I use the Internet for various research and searches, even if I do not just wander down the Internet highway or spend hours exploring YouTube. I am on my email everyday, but I do not use Instant Messaging.
I even have a Facebook page! OK, I subscribed because a friend invited me and then completed my profile when I saw there was an option to advertise my blog entries via Facebook. I have a few friends and could probably get more if I would “invite” them, but I figure the people I really want to connect with I send emails to or call! Some of my Facebook friends post things all the time—and I see and even sometimes respond to those updates when I go online to Facebook a couple times a week. I have a Lindekin page too, but no profile yet. I have not started Twitter. To tell the truth, it just seems silly! A fellow blogger recently discussed the virtues of these technological connections, but I was not convinced enough to get started in new areas—at least not yet.
As part of my evidence that I am not afraid of technology, I want to announce that I bought a new cell phone the other day. Of course, my old one was over 2 years old and had stopped working effectively right on schedule, a few months after the 2-year warranty ran out. Its problem was that I could no longer use the numbers 1, 4 and 7 on the keypad. Go ahead, I dare you to make calls, check voice mail, or even change your PIN without using those numbers. I double-dog dare you!
I went online to see what my replacement options were and found the best phone for me. That meant the new cell phone would let me have a phone and check my email online—and with my upgrade discounts and such—I selected the cheapest phone I could find that did not require me to change my monthly data usage plan. I only spent $50 and for a little more money I could even get a Bluetooth earphone, so I could talk on the phone while driving. Not that, that is an activity I am dying to do!
It did not even take me very long to get my new phone set up. I can once again call at will, retrieve voice mail messages and check my email via my phone. I still do not plan on using text messages. It is convenient to have the calculator and calendar online, and I even use them occasionally. The camera may get used, but I try to carry my “real” camera when I know I am going out to take photos. I do not plan to connect to Facebook via my phone, although I could. If I rarely go there when I am home, why would I want that option when I am out and about? Downloading games and music are not things I am really interested in, but maybe the siren call of Angry Birds will convert me—for only $2.99 and placing my credit card info online. “Maps” seems like an interesting feature, but do I really need walking directions from wherever I am to where I want to go? Thus far I have not activated the “find your phone all the time” GPS feature. Maybe if I went more new places this feature would be more enticing.
I am not sure why I shared all this.
I think I wanted to convince myself that I am not a luddite—that I am not averse to technology. I use it. I love it in lots of ways. But I do not fully embrace it either, and I know that makes me an alien in terms of the younger generation’s approach to technology. I can live without being hip and cool, and I will adjust to being the “older” audience some commercials target with their marketing ploys. But at times I do feel like I am battling against the technology, and—although I hold my own pretty well—in the long run, I think I will lose to the newest, the best, the next version—and all the gadgets and conveniences they offer. After all, my new phone boasts 3G technology and there are ads all over saying the 4G stuff is here already. At times like that, I sigh and repeat a quote from Mark Twain, “All the modern inconveniences!” But to get it right, you have to say it with a sigh!
So where are you in this battle? Are you fighting the technology too, or embracing it fully? Maybe it is not a battle at all. Maybe it is just progress, just the future getting started right now, today!
I better be careful, or I will be left behind.
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“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.” Albert Einstein
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” John F. Kennedy