Navigating this Digital World

In this post, I am merely responding to remarks and questions I found noteworthy from this week’s readings and prompt

“They [digital technologies] are so much a part of our everyday lives that we often don’t think about them.”

I do not completely agree with this statement. Digital technologies are undoubtedly a part of our everyday lives. We have unprecedented access and exposure to these technologies. Our lifestyles have become seemingly dependent on their proper functioning. However, I question the merit of the second part of the statement: We often don’t think about them. Because most of us still have a space to distance and disentangle ourselves from technology’s reach, we still think about them. We maintain a basis for comparison in their presence and absence. It may be that digital technologies’ absence frightens us. Such an absence would disrupt our patterns of living and force major changes. Somewhere deep within our brains we consider this hypothetical situation a possible reality, so we remain grateful for its continued proper functioning and in fear and awareness of its possible removal. Personally, I continue to marvel at the fact that I carry around a super computer in my pocket. And even (especially in a daydreaming-conducive environment such as lounged on a sofa in front window on a sunny day thereby allowing you to assume the position of a sunbathing cat) I wonder what the pioneers of computers would think about it. It is interesting to consider how future generations will think (or not think) about digital technologies as they are becoming increasingly used and introduced at a young age

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of messages and email?

Being an introvert and someone who has an aversion to being tied to schedules and obligations, I am easily overwhelmed by all of this social stimulation. Introversion is commonly substituted with shyness, yet they mean two different things. When I write “introvert,” I draw from a definition given by Susan Cain in her TedTalk: “introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.” I am “most switched-on” when my technology is switched off. The constant bombardment of messages and email disrupts the low-key environment that I love and in which I operate best. Typically partnered with these messages and emails are commitments to be at a certain place at a certain time to do a certain task for a certain purpose. Swiftly, your schedule (over)fills with these activities/events that rise to paramount importance in order to meet an obligation you feel as though you must uphold. Before you know it, your schedule is fueling a dangerous cycle that places your identity in how much you can accomplish rather than in the content of your character. Your life becomes increasingly busier and complex trying to affirm your identity in the number of events that you do. When you finally have to a second to catch your breath, all you want is to return to a place of simplicity.

Do you sometimes feel as if you aren’t in the moment but busy figuring out what everyone else is doing or busy trying to capture a photo?

I intentionally do not own any social media accounts in part because I know that I would waste my time figuring out what everyone else is doing

My sisters and I doing one “cool, meaningful” thing among an infinite number of possibilities. (Photo credit: Elizabeth Rudigier)

(and subsequently comparing by own circumstances to theirs). Doing so would lower engagement in whatever it was that I was doing, taking away
from a potentially awesome, genuine experience. However, adopting a posture of “JOMO” (Joy of missing out) would extinguish the need to figure out what everyone else is doing. JOMO grasps the reality that there is a “limitless number of cool or meaningful things we’re not doing” and releases us from the suffocating impulse to compare. May we revel in how extraordinarily lucky are we to live in a place where this is the case.



Navigating this Digital World

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