Let me add my two pence to the slurry of thoughts on this age of digitisation. Sparked by an article in The Evening Standard about the dangers of drivers wearing Google Glass, I reflect again on the integration of technology into our lives.
As I am but twenty-three, the year of my birth still managed to scrape into the eighties – the decade of bouffant mullets, the birth of indie rock and truly spectacular children’s television (Saved by the Bell, anyone?).
I still remember my Dad installing our first home computer, fairly late in the day when I was about seven years old in the mid-nineties (my boyfriend insists his household was far advanced by this stage). My sisters and I would spend hours on this Disney art program, creating swathes of 2D scenes containing Mickey and his friends.
There was no internet to speak of for a while, until we discovered my Dad’s work laptop on the kitchen counter, post-divorce. It used to connect via screechy dial-up, taking over a minute to open a portal to the world.
Of course, we had no appreciation of the gravity of such a thing. We just wanted to read Harry Potter fanfiction and generate pretty outfits on virtual dolls. I didn’t get into webchat, though, I was that antisocial as a child.
Nevertheless, technology slowly started to creep into our lives. I resisted the first smartphones for ages, clinging instead to a rather useless Blackberry that was only good for the emails I didn’t actually send. I was fairly quick to grasp Facebook but it took me ages to finally get on to Twitter. Now, I’m glued to my iPhone 4S (retro, I know). I download apps for everything, a concept I could literally not understand before I first bought this phone.
My sister used to angrily insist (to deaf ears) that I buy an iPhone, especially after I moved to London and got lost every time I forayed out of the front door. Yet, I literally could not understand what a wondrous invention it was.
Now, I am communications officer for a health charity, and social media is completely central to my role. I have learned a lot since assuming this voluntary post, and one of the lessons is that technology must be wholeheartedly embraced.
It’s the way forward; the landscape of the world, if you will. Jobs become technology-based; and when the internet goes down at work, machinations tend to come to a standstill even if we all pretend to keep on working.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress, Blogger… How do you keep up with them all, is the question. The answer is I really don’t know, except you must retain a sense that you are engaging and learning, all the time. Though I’m still young and hardly out of the digital loop, sometimes it’s hard not to get scared of all the new things constantly being hurled at us.
I know there are uncountable other web platforms that I haven’t mentioned, and will probably never even skim the surface of. But when I’m not at work, or sleeping, or socialising with real people, I will be exploring this phenomenon we call the technological revolution. I will be developing high blood pressure when I inevitably spill drinks on my keyboard, embarrass myself online or lose very important data in one fell swoop. And, one day far away, I will be telling my children off for spending too much time in front of the computer.