In this very digital world we live in, more and more people are finding that they are shifting most of their real life conventional and traditional activities online. It’s a sign of the times and while life currently, among technologically savvy people may be easier and more seamless, it’s not all good.
Albert Einstein foresaw it all.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass human interaction the world,” he is cited to have said. “We will have a generation of idiots?”
Well idiots is a strong word, but tonight I sat back and thought of 20 things that I did 3 to 5 years ago that I rarely do today:
1. Answer my land line telephone – Like people who are cord cutting and don’t even have traditional land line phones, I am finding myself not even bothering to answer my transitional PSTN phone at all. Most times, it’s telemarketers, surveyors or other people or institutions I am avoiding anyway. My real friends have my mobile number and know to use it.
2. Leave a voice mail when someone I’m calling doesn’t answer – This week, I left a voice mail message on a friend’s phone when she did not answer. I honestly do not recall the last time I did that because these days I, and many others, are apt to simply hang up and send a text. Because of some people’s expensive or limited voice packages, they avoid making calls and stick to texting anyway.
3. Watch a show when it is scheduled to come on – I never watch shows at their regularly scheduled time. Rather, I set them to record them on my DVR and watch them when I am free and have down time, usually after putting the kids to bed, polishing of a project or done with the dishes, not prime time!
4. Go to a Video Rental Store – Do these even exist anymore?
5. Watch a movie on a VCR – We still have a VCR and tapes but never ever watch movies or other things on them. They are practically dinosaurs.
6. Watch a movie on a DVD – Most things I watch are stored on my DVR, on demand or available online and there really is no need to purchase an actual DVD. I am eager to join the 21st century and get a Blu-Ray player because of the superior image and sound quality in Blu-Ray discs.
7. Print out something – Because I am mindful of the environment, I now edit, review, send and receive all documents online and rarely print items out.
8. Participate in email convos with friends. – A few years ago, I used to be part of several circles of email lists and listservs and regularly communicated with friends and colleagues through them. These days, everyone is on Facebook, Twitter or some other social media platform where you can connect with them.
9. Develop photos and put them in albums – We have thousands of images stored on computers, phones and in the cloud that have never seen a photography developing center. It’s sad actually that if someone comes to visit (what’s that?) I do not have updated photo albums of the family to share with them. Rather, I flip out my phone, scroll through my endless Facebook albums and pass them my smart phone to see. It’s just not right.
10. Use a digital camera – In this age when almost all smart phones come with a camera and many with high quality zoom and image resolution, many people are not even bothering to schlep their traditional cameras to events. Instead of carrying multiple devices, you can use your smart phone to video record and photograph junior’s Christmas pageant. When you do, you will look around and see dozens of other parents with their phones out doing the same. What a difference a few years make.
11. Mail my bills thru a mailbox – If not auto deducting payments from my bank account, many utilities and credit card companies provide the option to pay your bill online. There are several services and apps available that will pay all your bills for you from one source. It’s a time saver as the tradition of writing checks, licking stamps and mailing off bills can be tiresome.
12. Know directions to my destination before getting in my car – Having a GPS in the car, with a simple input of the address, the directions are configured and there is a nice woman who audibly navigates me to my unknown destination.
13. Use a watch to tell the time – I don’t remember the last time I even wore a watch. I use my phone.
14. Read the news in a print newspaper – I think our last newspaper subscription lapsed in 2002.
15. Read a magazine article in print form – I had an In Style magazine subscription that just piled up and remained unread — not because I didn’t want to read it but because I didn’t have time to sit down and read them. While online, I can search articles from it via its online version.
16. Check in on a friend by actually calling them – Sad, but many times people don’t even answer their phones when you call, but if you text them right after, they will respond quickly back. Older relatives prefer the personal call though so we really should connect more with them the old fashioned way.
17. Sit thru television commercials – Why when your DVR lets you skip them.?
18. Have no clue how to directly communicate w/and/or mess with celebrities – These days, many of your favorite stars are on Twitter, Google plus, and Facebook and actively read and respond to fan tweets and communication. Many a sensitive celebrities have had Twitter feuds and fights with ordinary joes who push their buttons hard enough telling them what they don’t want to hear, and consequently revealing a new way to directly connect with a once elusive bunch of people.
19. Rely on watching the evening news to know what’s going on in the world – This is the world of the 24 hour news cycle. No longer must you wait until the end of the day for a TV newscast team to assemble the news and give it to you after work. News is made and shared every second of the day via social media, broadcast and other sources. It’s a different world.
20. Know the phone numbers of close relatives from memory – With phones able to store and enable you to dial them with a few touches, you no longer need to memorize the numbers of loved ones.
21. Payback a personal Debt By Cash– Nowadays if I want to pitch in for the class give, send a relative a cash gift, or paysome back some money, I no longer have to meet up with them to give them cash. I just deposit money directly to their account using Cash App, PayPal or some other app. Easy breezy.
22. Use a Telephone Book to Find Handyman – There are tons of apps now like TaskRabbit, Next Door and more where you can quickly get referrals and suggesions of local contractors to come to your home eliminating the guesswork of picking someone randomly in the telephone book and hoping they don’t suck!
23. Use a Travel Agent – So many online services will give you fares, help you re-route trips, and you can purchase travel insurance with each ticket. A lot of credit card companies even offer travel assistance so there really is no need for an independent agent.
24. Take a Tax – I no longer run to the street and look for a taxi driving by. I once went to visit a friend in NYC in the early 2000s and a good part of our day was figuring out which side and which block would be best to find a cab heading in our direction. Some passed us by even though they didn’t have a fare. Gone are those days because of apps like Uber and Lyft.
25. Go Into A Bank – All my banking transactions are done electronically. I rarely if ever walk into a bank branch to conduct any business whatsoever. Even when I had 5 businesses at the same time, I rarely went to the bank though I do value the relationship I developed with branch managers because when I would have to go into the bank, I’d have an easier time having already had a familiarity with the face I see there. That’s a great thing to have if you want to cut off any excess pomp and circumstance to getting quick services and getting in and out fast when you need to do in-person banking.
If we could, we should revert back to the old ways…at least to reconnect and get real once again with real humans.