Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

When walking down the street, you notice a woman pacing in circles while jabbing her phone in the air in a frustrated manner trying to get a signal. Then you sit down in at your favorite coffee shop, and the man at the adjacent table is yelling, “Can you hear me now?!” At this point you wonder: why does a dropped call or lack of phone service disorient us so much? Well the simple answer is: we are constantly connected and are dependent on our phones to survive.

I am one of those people who gets easily frustrated when my phone isn’t working correctly and I feel the pressing need to contact someone. Maybe we feel like a more important person when we get a lot of phone calls; we feel as if we are needed. Don’t you notice how famous and important people don’t get excited at the prospect of a phone call from someone, especially a fan? I definitely don’t receive very many calls or text messages in a day, and when my phone begins to vibrate, I am on top of it. When someone wants to talk to you or might have a question that you can answer, it feels nice. This creates a dependence on phones, and when they don’t work for us, we feel distraught.

This feeling of loss when technology doesn’t work is common in other areas of our lives too. If the Internet doesn’t work for example, I become very uncomfortable without the ability to check my e-mails. The same may go for Facebook, MySpace, or any other online communication device. This discomfort and feeling of loss indicates a dependence on constant connectivity to technology. So if we are wondering whether constant connectivity is a bane or boon, it might help to decide whether being disconnected is a bane or boon. At this stage in society, wouldn’t disconnection to technology disrupt our lives and livelihoods far more than the banes of constant connectivity?

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