To start with, this post is a result of a blog that I read today.
My story of technology began with a mobile phone that I bought during my engineering days. It was a basic handset which I bought using my scholarship money. I almost exclusively used it for messaging. My incoming/outgoing calls were minimal. In a sense, the mobile phone was used for emergency purposes or to chat with a few friends who happened to own a mobile. I used this phone for a good 4 years before I switched to a slightly advanced mobile handset. This wasn't a big leap. The next change was a bigger leap. A touch screen mobile. A smartphone.
To be fair, the term smartphone doesn't make much of a dent in the current society. Almost every other person owns one. But the real question is, does one use a smartphone to the fullest potential? Most of us don't. But there are a few of us who use a substantial percentage of the features provided. Unfortunately, I fall in that "few" category.
So coming back to the blog I was referring to. Meeting neighbors, meeting relatives et al. Honestly, even before I owned a mobile, I never used to do that. I know I fall in a rare category. But I have to agree to one thing: before, my days after coming back home were occupied by reading books or playing volleyball. Now, it's more about changing TV channels and checking my mobile for twitter updates or checking whatsapp for group messages. And yes, the occasional facebook updates as well. Now that's not the most worrying thing(for me). The most worrying thing I see is when I travel by public transport. I rarely see anyone who is not looking at his/her smartphone! Now that scares me. For me, that's an indication our lives are being bound to things which aren't really going to help us to become better human beings. I agree, I'm a culprit too. Either to escape the boredom, or just because we can't live without, we end up staring at a screen which keeps us updated about what others are doing or where the world is headed towards. So what do we gain from all of this information? Actually, very little.
We come to know about what the world is up to. But do we ever think about where we are going? Mostly not. Our human interactions have reduced. When we do meet, we talk about phones, latest trends in technology et al. When we aren't checking our phones, we are on laptops watching youtube videos or uploading photos on facebook or checking tweets.
Where do we go from here is a question that bothers me every time I check a tweet or my whatsapp messages. The reality is, the week long/month long breaks we take once in a year or two doesn't undo the harm we do to ourselves for the rest of the year. Someday, we'll have to find a balance. Hope we are not forced to learn it the hard way.
This post took around 40 minutes to compose. I checked my phone at least 3 times during this. Replied to 6 tweets. Checked my facebook timeline(Thankfully I'm not that addicted to fb anymore). Replied on whatsapp to two contacts. And of course, the ever running television was blaring out something which I hardly noticed.