Culture

Being plugged in: That’s what it is all about

This week I have been in two cities for two different conferences.  As a result, I’ve been in multiple flights this week. Each time I got onto the plane, there was an announcement made as to how there were outlets at each seat for the electronics.  Right after the announcement was made, people would immediately stake out their electronics’ charging spot. Everyone is plugged in everywhere.

 

As I was working out at the hotel gym, I spotted a sign that said one had to be plugged in so that the television could work. Everywhere I look, it is about being plugged into something.

A few years back, a guy sat next to me on the plane in a very agitated state of being. He was not angry. He was just fidgety, anxious and in need of a drink or two. He was anxious he was going to be disconnected from the world. I reminded him that there was wi-fi connection on the plane and that eased his mind a bit. Lo and behold, the plane took off and there was a lot of turbulence. Hence, we had no wi-fi access. My seat mate was nearly unhinged.

 

I sat there thinking about how much this guy needed to detox from being constantly plugged in.   That was then. Now, I am not too sure people need to unplug.   For a while, there seemed to be more of a movement to unplug. To get people to disconnect and have more face-to-fce conversations.  I turned away from that movement. I like being plugged in.  I don’t think it is everything. And, I don’t believe that I become unhinged if I can’t connect.  I can certainly leave my phone to the side of me at work and not look at it for hours. Laughingly, at times, I go to look at my phone and there are text messages that I missed from my colleagues down the hallway.  Regardless of that silliness, I don’t feel we collectively need to completely unplug.

 

It’s a new world order. Its an odd, interconnected world. We walk around with chargers falling out of our pockets and with extra batteries weighing down our bags.  But that is my bag now. That’s how we roll.

16 replies »

  1. Choosing to travel on any airline these days is not a pleasant experience, not the way it use to be. Besides being overcrowded, a majority of flyers look like they crawled out of bed, unwashed, wearing whatever they could throw on with flip flops and climbed on board the plane. Not to mention that so many people today are terribly overweight to the point of America having an obesity health crisis. It makes me sad and concerned, especially because this crisis leads to huge premiums in healthcare costs for everyone. Not to mention that obesity leads to almost every kind of disease process known to mankind: heart disease, all kinds of cancers, hip and knee replacements, blindness related to diabetes and a host of other diseases as well.

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  2. I am of the age that grew up without cellphones , computers, internet and an international phone call was a BIG DEAL and had to be very SHORT. Nonetheless…. I am now always looking for Wi-Fi in every café, and panic if the internet goes out and if my cell phone runs out of battery I’m in a flap! However an airplane is the one place where I only read a book. It’s a rule with me. In the lounge before the flight I’m on my pc working away but as soon as I sit on the plane…..it’s just me and my book.

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  3. As an older guy who remembers being unplugged, I see the current dependence on electronic devices as sad and regrettable. It makes people anxious mostly. True, this is how it is and how it’s gonna be. Still, it’s sad.

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  4. I see both positives and negatives in being plugged in, and being disconnected. I feel like a lot of the unrest in our country comes from people not knowing how to relate to others in the constantly connected state. When people finally do come face to face, they aren’t sure how to perceive the other because they are so used to talking without body language. When one presents themselves in a certain way, assumptions are made, and there is a bit of a disconnect in the relation. That part is unfortunate. I also feel like technology should be making our lives simpler so we can have more time to focus on our important human relations instead of just always getting things done. Unfortunately, instead of doing that, in many cases, it just makes people take on far greater workloads and not have time to unwind. At the same time, I love that we can check in on social media and tell our family and friends that we are safe after a natural disaster. I love that I can Google a place and get details before I go there. I’m glad that I can look up a restaurant’s hours, prices, and menu without having to call and wait on hold. I love being able to send a short text message for someone to read later when they have a minute instead of having to tie them up with a phone call. I like to have balance in my life. I’m still a huge champion of print books, as reading on a screen all the time hurts my eyes. I love being able to put my iPod (believe it or not, I still don’t have a smart phone, I have a flip phone for calls/texts, and an iPod that can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi) aside and read a real book, or talk to my boyfriend, or do jigsaw puzzles, or paint. I also like to check in when I go places or put statuses with the movie I’m watching just for my own reference later (man…what was the name of that Chinese place I ate at in Columbus a couple years ago? oh yeah, I can just scroll back in the old Facebook and find it–Mark Pi’s btw!). At times I wish I was more connected, as it would be lovely to have GPS access, which I now only have when Wi-Fi is available, but at the same time, I love Googling directions, handwriting them before my trip, and getting lost so I can find my own way. Unfortunately that’s not always a great option if I need to be in a hurry, say, for a job interview…but if I’m going on a road trip, I enjoy getting lost and figuring things out, it’s part of the journey. I like being able to youtube essentially everything and learn a new skill. What I don’t like is the abundance of contradictory and plain untrue information that is on the internet. It’s very easy to find very false information portrayed as fact, which can be very harmful. People think it’s funny to post some of this stuff, but the reality is, someone who truly doesn’t know any better and is trying to find the right way to do something can end up hurt or dead from this kind of information. That’s how rumors and false reports are spread and then people just end up more confused. There’s good and bad to all of it, but the reality of the situation is that it IS. Whether you like it or not it is there. We aren’t going to suddenly revert back to a pen and paper world, so people need to get used to it. I would, however, like to see people have a little more balance and a lot less comparing themselves to everything they see on the internet. You’re not a bad mom if you don’t go to fitness classes daily, have your kids in the best private school, create gourmet lunches for your kids and 5 star quality dinners for your whole family all while holding down a full time job. It’s totally ok to just make things work however it works best for you and your family. I don’t like how judge-y the internet has made people. I’m sure it was the same before, but it wasn’t so blatantly obvious, and if you wanted to tell someone how you felt, you either had to take time to go see or call them, or write a letter, which gave you time to think it through. Now people just post how they feel in a moment and everyone jumps on it. We all say stupid things, and we all need to learn how to sit down and shut up sometimes. Everything is great in moderation.

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      • It seems like every day someone has to retract or explain some statement they made on social media (especially twitter). That’s the problem with instant communication, people don’t take time to think anymore, they just say what’s on their mind with no filter. Sometimes we say things in the heat of a moment that we don’t actually mean, or at least not in the way we say them. It would be beautiful if people could learn how to think before they speak sometimes lol

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