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empire of M

New rules for the techie age

photo

cartoon courtesy of cagle cartoons

I don't like technology - let's just get that out there right now. So if you're the person that tweets, or lives on Facebook, has six different mobile devices that plays music and a television with a million features you haven't even begun to comprehend yet, you probably won't like this column.

You see, in this new tech savvy world a new mode of behavior is slowly becoming the norm and it is driving me nuts.

For the moment, I am going to pick on texting. I hate texting. I really never liked phones to begin with, but having to sit there, hovered over my phone, punching keys that are really just too small and carrying out a whole conversation!

What is the appeal, really?! A conversation that might have taken 5 minutes by calling the person suddenly takes 15.

But don't worry. I know why people like texting. It allows us to have conversations discreetly. These are the people who text in class, during meetings...on the road.

Okay, so that is something I can't change, but texting requires a certain amount of courtesy.

Early in the texting craze, I once had lunch with a friend who spent more time texting than talking with me. Call me selfish, but I did come all the way into town and purchased a meal to talk to that person. If I wanted half a conversation, I'd have texted them, not called them for lunch.

And if I'm not mistaken, I didn't even call them for lunch - they called me.

But texting I am getting used to. I guess I can understand why people "think" it is the easier mode of conversation, but I am not fooled. The ability to send words electronically has been around for more than 150 years!

I am not even including that age old pastime of writing an actual letter.

But something that is new and is already getting on my nerves is Facebook...well, any social networking site, really.

These sites are giving people just another way to disconnect with the rest of the population. It's a way to have "friends" without actually having friends.

I know there are people who use this site to keep in touch with people who are out-of-town and harder to contact.

For that, I appreciate its usefulness. In fact, Facebook has given me the opportunity to reconnect with friends I haven't seen since I was 12...one friend I haven't seen since I was in the fourth grade!

For that, I am thankful. But that doesn't eliminate my annoyance with people who abuse these networks. You know who I mean - those people who make an update every 20 minutes. Who fill your Facebook homepage to such a degree you actually have to search through their updates to find any other friends.

Then there is the drama that happens when you delete them. It use to be that people were insulted when someone called them a name, now all you have to do to truly anger them is delete them from your friends list.

How vicious!

Actually, I had this friend from high school who very kindly informed people that she was going to be deleting people from her Facebook. She wasn't trying to be mean, but she wanted her Facebook to be filled with her actual friends.

Makes sense to me. In fact, I think everybody needs to do that. Even more so, I think parents need to do that with their children. Your kids may be more tech savvy than you, but threats still exist out there. Your child shouldn't have 600 friends on their list.

Remember those days when everyone was getting e-mail addresses and the names had to be all discreet - like bluewaterbottle@fakeemail.com.

No one dared put their actual name in their e-mail. I remember lying about everything with my first few e-mails, including the state I lived.

Now, it's all out there. Kids aren't using privacy options they ought to. People can browse their photos, see their hometown and schools, and thanks to the insta-update, every aspect of their lives.

I shiver just to think of it.

In just the last 10 years alone, technology has become so deeply engrained in our everyday lives, it is almost impossible to imagine a world where it is taken away - imagine no more internet, no instant communications...no video games!

But those days did exist and people actually survived them.

I am not saying all technology is evil. I actually like my X-Box and my Netflix. I like my Kindle.

But if you're going to join the tech world, or already reside there, check yourself.

Are you being a courteous techie?

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