I love technology, especially mobile phone technology. I love the way it both frees and connects us. When I was a kid, my friends and I imagined a communications and entertainment device exactly like the smartphone.
Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law postulates, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Does our current technology qualify us for Clark’s Third Law? Maybe. From a primitive’s point of view, certainly.
This is the stuff I think about as, with this magic in my hand, I gleefully surf the Internet, post pictures to Instagram for hundreds of friends around the world to see, check my e-mail, send text messages to friends around the country, play games with people around the WORLD, ALL SENT ON BEAMS OF RAINBOW UNICORN GLITTER TO SATELLITES FLYING AROUND OUR ATMOSPHERE!
Sorry. I’m sorry. I get excited. Don’t you get excited?
And do you know what makes me sad? The pushback I see. The judgment against people who enjoy their technology “too much,” look at their phones while walking or just being in a public place. The banning of phones in places where they are clearly useful, such as in schools, libraries, and concerts.
Of course there is a time and a place; common sense, courtesy, and safety must always come first. What I’m talking about is judging the person who is by himself at the mall or at a bar with earbuds in his ears, looking at his phone. Let him be in his own world. Why not? Is it such an insult? Were you going to talk to him?
Maybe he’s shy. Maybe he’s an introvert. The social media mind magic focused through our smartphone totems give us the control we need. A throttle, if you will, to turn our social interactions on and off when it’s time to recharge our social mana. Sorry, Extroverts. Not everyone can be ON all the time.
But don’t call us anti-social. Social media has made us more interactive than ever. This kid staring at her phone is on her way to a Comic Con, a Tech Conference, a Guild Gathering, an Instagram Meet-up, or a Tweet-up. With video conferencing technology, she sees old school friends and distant relatives around the country on FaceTime and Skype. She’s making friendships and romantic connections around the world.
And let’s be done with the “Screen Zombie” slander. My people find it offensive.