Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The web never sleeps



My day job is working on the digital side of what was a very traditional business only a few years ago (book publishing).  I spend my working days helping college professors implement my company's e-book and computerized homework systems into their classrooms.  Since I'm paid to work with computerized systems, you might think I'm a computer geek who adores all shiny new technology.  You'd be wrong.  The geek part might apply, but computer geek--hardly.

I love tech, but only when it makes my life better.  For instance, I'm currently falling in love with Evernote because it allows me to take notes on any of my computers or iPad (something I do a lot) which I can then access from any device that connects to the internet.  Pandora allows me to create "radio stations" tailored for whatever mood I'm in at the moment.  Pandora and Evernote are examples of digital tools that work intuitively and  make my life a tiny bit better.

At other times, technology is just more trouble than it's worth.

Right now I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by all of my digital gizmos, mostly because of the sheer proliferation of them.  I've got a desktop computer, a laptop computer, an iPad, a smart phone and two Kindles (a "regular" Kindle and a Kindle Fire tablet).  All of these devices are fairly new and both of my computers and the iPad are less than a month old.

Teri has a similar collection--the only difference is that all of her stuff says Apple somewhere on it.  The latest addition to Teri's Apple family came earlier this week with the arrival of a new laptop.

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have all of these gadgets.  I couldn't do my job or share my thoughts with you without them, but there's a dark side to being completely accessible all of the time.

Sometimes I feel like I exist to serve my electronic masters when it should be the other way around.  The machines are so demanding and they never ever sleep.  They need constant attention.  For instance, when a new work e-mail comes in, my cell phone, laptop and iPad will all ding, chirp and beep at me simultaneously, telling me somebody, somewhere wants something from me and whoever it is probably wants it now.

Because of the nature of my job, I get lots and lots of e-mails asking me to do lots and lots of things.  There are plenty of times when I feel like Lucy working the line at the chocolate factory.  All of those requests in the form of dings, chirps and beeps often come in faster than I can possibly deal with them.

When things get out of control, each new electronic bleat is a tiny stab to the heart.  Each little chime let's me know I've fallen a bit further behind.  In the few minutes I've been writing this, my devices have been pinging away as the sales reps get off campus and begin moving their own dings,chirps and beeps down the line at the chocolate factory and in my general direction.

I don't mean to complain.  I'm grateful to be employed and in demand given the current state of things.  It's just that it feels so noisy, everything feels so urgent, and there are times I want that incessant ding, ding, ding out of my head.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean. Part of it is because Eric teaches network security and administration, so he's a gadget geek anyway, but we have three kids in the house and I think 13 computers. And that's before we get to the PDA, the Smartphone, etc. Amd the fax. And the microwave. and everything that forces us to work faster and harder.... it's stressful, for sure.

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