Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confessions: My Bad Technology Behavior

This Sunday the New York Times published a fantastic article about an important trend from an interesting angle. I was so proud of them.

I recommend reading Sherry Turkle's entire piece: The Flight From Conversation - a look at how our attachment to devices (the "i suite" and more) have made us more connected, but less conversational. It's interesting, and scary, and true.

For my own part, in response to the piece, I thought I'd reveal my TECHNOLOGY TRUTHS. I tend to read these social commentary pieces and think, "thank god I don't do that crazy thing these sad, Americans do," (yes, I am American, but sometimes I feel like I'd rather not be) but this time I'm one of them, right down to my occasional attempts at trying to maintain eye contact with R while sending a text to someone else. So...deep breath...here goes:

  • I ALWAYS say, "Sorry, I'm listening, keep talking," to a friend/colleague/boyfriend while I text/search/e-mail on my iPhone. The truth is that I hear about 15 percent of what they're saying and typically have to ask them to repeat something. This is rude.
  • The idea of being alone somewhere (a bar, coffee shop, movie theater) without my iPhone is terrifying to me. I don't want someone to see me just looking around, taking in life. They'll think I'm some sort of weirdo.
  • The other day I went somewhere, didn't upload any Instagrams from that location, and for a moment thought, well that was a waste. This is sick.
  • I get incredibly annoyed when people don't respond quickly to e-mails. I respond quickly to ALL e-mails because I have my phone on me! What is everyone else doing?? Paying attention to their boyfriends and enjoying actual life?? How dare they.
  • Sometimes I think about calling all my best friends who live far away but then just text them something simple instead. This is a combination of sheer laziness and the incorrect feeling that a phone conversation is a big deal. It's not. It's an important deal.
  • If you asked me when the last time I talked to _______ was, I'd probably quote you a number based on the last time we g-chatted. I know that doesn't count, but the real number is too embarrassing.
  • I could Skype with my parents, but it makes me miss them more when I see their faces, so I just text or call.
  • The most wonderful and important romantic relationship I've had in my life did not include texting for the first two full months. He called me on the phone exclusively, and that's how I knew it was going to be as good as it's turned out to be.
POST YOUR OWN TECHNOLOGY TRUTHS BELOW IN COMMENTS. Maybe we can shame each other into better digital behavior. I know I'm going to do my part to try and be a little less connected, and a little more real.


  1. I feel like a responsible person when I intentionally stop texting in the middle of the crosswalk, even though I allow myself to return to texting a few steps before I actually get onto the sidewalk.

  2. -I can no longer sit still for the length of a STOP LIGHT without checking something on my phone, even if it's just the time
    -I had to force myself to sit and finish reading your post instead of immediately jumping to the bottom to see if you had put in your instagram handle

  3. People not responding to emails quickly irritates me. And if I send you an email at 8:00am in the morning and it's a work email and you haven't responded to me by 4:00 then I think it's perfectly ok for me to hunt you down and ask you wtf if I've seen you at your desk all day and/or wandering around the floor. It's not that I don't understand that you're busy but that my email literally took you 2 seconds of thought but 8 hours to respond to.

    As for personal emails I think that if you have an iPhone or any other phone with email capabilities and I can see where you've updated your Facebook status about 5 times in one day then it's perfectly reasonable to expect you to respond to my email within 24 hours.

  4. I get legitimately agitated if I don't have a strong enough signal to check in somewhere on 4sq. Most recently, this occurred at Home Depot. God forbid my friends don't know I'm shopping for a new faucet.

    And I'll echo B.Graham -- the number of times that I manage to check my phone on my commute home is absurd.

    I get antsy when I've checked Gmail, work email, Facebook, 4square and Instagram, and have exhausted all new content. I start to feel like my friends are letting me down by not having any more recent updates.

    Bottom line, I'm pathetic and addicted.