Technology is no longer just a benefit for those who can afford it. It is for everyone and anyone. Technology has even become more than just a way of life. Technology is survival—survival of a brand, survival of staying connected, and survival of the individual.
Google + has opened another line of communication within the social media world; one more way to stay connected. While these tools help us stay in touch and up-to-date with the world, they can also create miscommunication when not used properly.
Here is my break down of technology today.
I love social media and digital technology. The ability to connect with others who share the same passions I do never fails to amaze me. Heck, Twitter was how I landed my baseball column at Midwest Sports Fans and became a Packer Reporter for Aerys Sports. I use social media first to find my news. The ease of being able to filter out what you do and do not want is what makes these tools so appealing.
As an individual who uses the internet and social media on a daily basis for work, I understand exactly how powerful the impact a company can have on the consumer. The ability to have feedback almost immediately is a win-win for the customer and the company. Not only does a consumer have access to company info, news and customer service, the company can monitor consumer and industry trends.
Facebook and Twitter allow me to stay connected with family and friends who live all across the country. Plus, I can stay connected whether or not I am near my laptop, thanks to the smart phone. The iPad, iPhone, Droid, Blackberry—you name it! All of these digital tools and more allow people to communicate on the go. You don’t have to set aside a “time” to reach out to friends when you have them right there in your pocket. This is a double edged sword, which leads us into the next section.
The ability to communicate at any given time of day and reach out to a multitude of individuals is overwhelming. It’s nice to stay connected, but at what point are we too connected? I have five points to help you recognize when you are too connected.
1. You text in your sleep. (I’ve only done this a few times.)
2. Your closest friends are Twitter followers who have never met you personally.
3. You pull up Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, etc. before you brush your teeth in the morning.
4. When you meet someone new, the first thing you do is Facebook, Google and Twitter search them.
5. You go into an insane panic when any of your social media tools or digital devices stalls, overloads, freezes or breaks down. (I might be guilty of this one.)
Every once in awhile, I will go back and review these points. It’s important to take a reality check and remember what’s really important—face-to-face interaction with PEOPLE.
Human interaction can never be replaced…although we seem pretty gosh darn close. Body language and voice inflection give an individual character. How many times have you read a text message or email and thought “Really? Does that say what I think it says?”
It can be difficult to read sarcasm in writing. Maybe at work you responded quickly to a co-workers email, coming off short and irritated when really you are just extremely busy. Technology is helpful, but it’s not perfect.
When emotional moments become digital, there are two ways that technology can get ugly. This might be my all time pet peeve.
If you get into a fight with a close friend, significant other, family member, etc. you do not—I REPEAT—do not send an “I’m sorry” text. It’s one big disrespectful slap in the face. Fighting via text message or email is something that high schoolers do. If you want to pick a fight with me by text, I will try to call you and figure it out verbally. Unfortunately, it easy to insult or fight with someone when you are hiding behind a cell phone, key board or whatever piece of technology you are using. That doesn’t mean it’s ok.
This one doesn’t get me quite as heated, and many of you may just shake your head and call me old fashioned. Fellas, don’t ask me on a date via text. I will say no. If you want to be friends and hang out, feel free to text me. But if you are actually interested in me, please respect me enough to call me.
Finding a middle ground with technology can be difficult. However, it is necessary. You don’t want to be know-it-all Joe who has no “real” friends. But you don’t want to be left in the dark.
Technology is constantly changing, and we change our habits along with it to keep up. Remember, we don’t have to change or use technology for everything just because it’s available.