WOW | Ed Page

Digitization Empowered

Some days ago, I was in conversation with friends about how integrated our lives had become due to social media, and yet how far apart we had grown. Although we rarely missed wishing each other on birthdays and special occasions now, we also rarely remembered the day with a conscious sense of knowing. We knew what was going on each other’s lives but only in picture perfect updates. We missed out on real conversations where we actually sat, shared and confronted our fears and challenges together, or giggled and laughed ourselves silly.

unpluggedWe talked about how digitization has empowered and given voice to so many issues that men and women face. We also talked about how vulnerable we had become in the process. We once talked to children about not talking to strangers, now we tell them about the pitfalls of the digital footprint they create. Have we then simplified or complicated our lives is the thought that comes to mind.

We have now the real world and the virtual world to contend with… to live and to play out. While I love the ease that technology offers to us… I also fear that it is crippling real learning. It is so easy to get caught up in the world wide web that we often forget the sun, the skies and the stars and our sense of wonder and curiosity.

More and more relationships are getting complicated and falling apart where the bone of contention is passwords, and in more serious attempts of offense, doxing. What happens to a couple’s digital life after a break up? What happens when one spouse feels left out when the other has password protected everything in the name of privacy? What happens when you teen wants the latest upgrade of his phone because all the other kids have it? What happens when a private video leaks out, or your account gets hacked? What about email threats and cyber crimes? What happens when two people sit for a meal but can connect better on messaging than face to face? What about two people going to a beautiful concert but are concerned more about capturing images than enjoying the music?

Ultimately I realize technology is great if we use it to our advantage and not become slave to it. Technology is great. Period. Yet clichéd as it may sound, reality is that we create technology and the moment we allow it to overtake our lives or use it disproportionately, we are missing out on using the biggest tools of human hearts and minds in exploring and experiencing real life. It’s time now to occasionally go on a digital detox and sit back and think about a better tech-life balance as we enter a world of faster wifi and super gizmos that will further test our connectivity to the real world.