During a good part of Friday morning, I thought about the subject that was featured in a Washington Post article yesterday, about the need to go on a digital diet. It has some excellent observations of how our social behaviour has changed. The irony (even conundrum) is, and was, that to bring out the concern, I need to make use of one of the digital facilitators that may be part and parcel of the problem, a blog.
Many of us have obtained many digital devices (phones, laptops, desktops, e-readers, iPads, etc.) and we seem to now cling to them literally and emotionally. I know that I am guilty of using my digital appliances more than for anything that I could deem a necessity. Many of us now use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Most of my activity is based around access to the Internet, and social media has become an important source of information, so regular referrals to both devices and media have become the norm. But, I sense that these devices and media are beginning to rule much of what we do. They substitute for, and get in the way of, certain kinds of human interrelationships. That is an uncomfortable thing to acknowledge. If asked, we can each construct arguments for what we do. We give children access to the devices and are often thrilled with the facility they show in mastering them, then see them being used constantly and being objects of choice much more than other activities. We may try to control access to different media, but it’s a difficult task at which to succeed.
But, can we honestly think about turning back the tide and curbing our use or doing away with some or all of these devices and reducing our use of the social media? It is an interesting exercise to try to do this and observe one’s personal reaction to the sense of disconnection.
I do not know how things will go for the rest of the Memorial Day holiday. But would I be deluding myself in believing that this will be the last time today that I touch my computer or that I will only consult my BlackBerry phone only if it rings? Will I refuse to consult Facebook or Twitter again today? I am going to give it a try.
There’s a lot of food for thought as we live through this conundrum.