Last time we had a revolution like this was with the initial introduction of mobile phones. Almost overnight, we suddenly found ourselves unable to live without these little devices that we might previously have seen little point in having. But despite our love for mobile phones, there was a downside: now anyone could get hold of us at any time and wherever we were.
A Love-Hate Relationship
Our relationship with mobile technology seems to be developing in the same manner. While we love the convenience of being able to navigate to that meeting without a map, route planner or sat nav and revel in the thought of being able to check our emails on the train, we also find we have less free time. The ‘always-on’ element of mobile technology means that incoming emails, the latest Facebook update or a breaking-news item can always interrupt us.
No doubt mobile technology was designed to help us stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues more easily, but how does this work in practice? In some ways, we are better connected than we ever were, but in other ways we find ourselves more isolated than we have ever been. Now there is no need to pick up the phone and speak to someone in person. Why would we, when it is so much quicker and efficient to send an email or text? And why waste the petrol driving over to a friend’ house for coffee and a chat when we can talk for free on our instant messenger?
Spoiling the Fun?
Today it is much easier to get information about anything with the little electronic encyclopaedia we keep in our pockets. Going on a holiday need never contain nasty surprises now that we can check out the hotel, town and places to visit on Tripadvisor wherever we are in the world. Going out for dinner? You can find the menus, reviews and maybe even some discount vouchers for the restaurant at the touch of a button.
But in some ways, doesn’t this convenience somewhat spoil the excitement of our experiences? If we already know which restaurant we are going to, are able to navigate there with our GPS and have already downloaded a PDF of the menu and decided what we are eating, where’s the fun? There is no chance of a bit of serendipity leading us down the wrong street only to find the best little Italian in town hidden away on a back road.
While mobile technology certainly has made our lives easier and no doubt will continue to do so, we still need to allow ourselves occasionally to face the unknown in order to feel alive. If we forget how to use libraries, maps and telephones, how will we ever cope when the internet goes down?
Erika Jonathon is a freelance content writer by profession. She finds immense pleasure in writing technology related article including wireless broadband.