The World We Live In (Technically Speaking)
Today we are surrounded by technology: from the moment we wake to our last moments in bed we are engaging with technology of some type. I work full time in the Information Technology industry where most days I research and find solutions to problems of the day by using technology – you could say that I rely on technology to fix technology. This dependence has really changed the way that I “do” life. It is less common that I go to others in my daily life to figure out how to do something, but instead I search online through a plethora of information until I feel like I have found something that suits what I am looking for.
When I go out for a walk, to a restaurant, take transit or just about anywhere, it is now common to see others burying their heads in an electronic device. I.T. has become for many of us our gateway to the world, our connection to what is going on and our escape from boredom. This constant need to be in the “know” and flick through page after page of information that others have posted about themselves (their best self) and what is going on in their life (usually the good stuff) somehow still can leave us feeling empty. I ask myself, “Why do I feel so empty, so dull when I’m so connected, so informed of what is going on?” I feel that the answer here is lack of community. In a day and age where we have the largest online community ever to exist, to be connected to more people than we can ever imagine, when asked the question “Do you feel lonely?” most people would answer “Yes.”
Many of us have become accustomed to having an online response, or RSVP, for our social engagements, but truthfully, a thumbs up, a “like” on our picture just does not cut it for validation. We were designed for more than a response on a screen for our personal wellbeing. Sometimes I wonder why I post things online. Is it to boast, to show others how “together” my life is? Or is it just to share with family across the world a snippet of what’s going on in my life? Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of valid reasons to share online some of what is going on in our lives, but it will never replace the amazing sense of community we have face to face with people. Once in a while I like to actually use my phone to make a phone call! It is pretty neat to not have 50 text messages forward and back, but instead a deep conversation about something. An online community will never fully replace the getting together with others to have fun, share experiences, adventure, laugh and grow together.
Is technology adding value to your life or leaving you feeling dull and without emotion? I find it really interesting seeing people with a completely blank face responding to posts with lots of emoji’s, exclamation marks, “LOL’s” and other expressive notations, but on the outside it’s just blank. In this technology age it is so easy to get lost in the cyber world of who you are. The recent messages at church on Identity have been so great – speaking to who we are in God. Who are you on the inside? Does it match what the technology world says you are? Are you living two different lives?
In a world of instant response and the ability to put down what you want, how you feel and the pictures you want to post (after editing) it just feels like we are left dull and disinterested. We don’t want to respond to invites until the day of in case there is something that may be better that comes up. Take a leap of faith into the unknown, to spend time with people in a situation you don’t know how fun it is, where you are not fully in control and embrace the unexpected. love getting away and exploring, if it is hiking, off-roading, traveling to another country
I love seeing and experiencing things for the first time. It gives me such a greater appreciation for God’s creation. Even though I can be exhausted at the end, I also feel so refreshed. In the coming weeks, rather that messaging someone with technology, try to organize a get together and you can tell them all about your adventures and experiences face to face. Try turning off all your notifications on your phone, uninstalling apps, and take control of your time; you check in when you feel like it (a couple times a day). Give people a chance to live their lives without the need for instant response, perhaps we can be allowed the same liberties. Try a day without technology and just see nature and take the time to breathe. It can be quite refreshing and surprising what that can do to see the world in a different light. Get together with people you have been communicating online and have a fun time with each other tech free. Put the device away, look up and see this beautiful world God has created, it just looks better through your own eyes rather than a screen.
Aaron Wheeler (Connect Team Director)