Analog Thoughts in a Digital World

Photo taken on Mosterøy, outside of Stavanger ca. 2010.

As a someone who remembers a childhood both with and without the internet, digital cameras, social media, smart phones, and the like, I sometimes find myself longing for the days where we went without these media.  Or at least went without on a more long-term basis than every half an hour or so.

The irony in the fact that I choose to not only write about this on the internet, but also on my personal blog, is not lost on me.  But in my daily life, I notice more and more that our lives seem to be lived in the digital world rather than in the physical world.  When I catch myself scrolling, clicking, looking and then scrolling, clicking, looking again only to notice that two hours have passed, I am filled with a sense of shamed surprise in realizing that I’ve used two hours of my life on a relatively meaningless activity.  Two hours I could spend cleaning, organizing, working, catching up with a friend, taking a walk…you get the picture.

The increased level of connectivity we experience in modern society is not all bad—thanks to social media, I can post a photo of what I’m up to on Instagram that both my mother and friends at home can see just as easily as those here in Norway.  I can text life updates to my best friend who just moved to L.A. with the same ease I text friends here in Stavanger about weekend plans.  If I miss someone far away, a quick Skype call allows me to simultaneously see and hear that person as if he or she was sitting right here in my living room.  But it’s when I feel myself getting sucked into the need for constant connectivity—the need to check if there’s anything new to read, if anyone has tried to contact me—that I feel that something is seriously off balance.

I know this may make it sound like I have a social media addiction, and heck, maybe I do (don’t we all in the year 2016?), but what happened to the days where it was acceptable to be unavailable? Where those who wanted to reach you could leave a message and you’d get back to them? I don’t think we should totally shun modern technological advances (I mean Hi, I am writing this on my blog after all), but I feel like it should be acceptable to unplug every once and a while.  So that’s what I plan on doing for the better part of this weekend—unplugging, logging off.  If you need to reach me, leave a message and I’ll call you back.  Leave a message after the beep.

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