Years ago, when personal computers were coming on the scene, I was one of those who dragged his feet about jumping into the technological waters. My children would probably tell you that we were one of the last people in the world to get a home computer—from Gateway, no less. Back then I did not think that computers for personal use would become something that would be affordable to most people . . . that it was price prohibitive. Looking back now I can see that I truly missed the boat on that one . . . just like I missed the boat on buying Apple stock when it came on the market (Who wants to invest in fruit? Especially apples!).
I never thought—way back then—that life would become so connected to technology, especially computers and the Internet. Yet, here I am . . . working on my laptop . . . using the Internet to post a blog, answer mail, listen to music, watch movies, and chat with people from all over the world. I am fully connected . . . fully hooked up . . . whether it is my laptop, iPad, or my smartphone. I have stepped into the 21st century with my 20th century mind and body.
Sitting at that original Gateway computer many, many years ago, I never imagined myself being this “hooked up” to technology. How “hooked up” to technology am I? Well, let’s see: I have five separate email accounts and each serves a specific purpose; I have a personal Facebook page (primarily to post my pictures on, to lament when the University of Nebraska football plays poorly), and to keep up with family and friends; I have three Facebook pages—Joliet Christian Church (the church I serve), Koinonia-Community/Common Unity (a page for those serving United Church of Christ or Christian Church-Disciples of Christ congregations in northern Wyoming or Montana), and Montana Regional Education Service Area III (a professional development page for educators in Montana); I have a personal blog—Big Old Goofy World; two Twitter accounts –one personal and one for MRESA3; one Mail Chimp account which I use for mass mailing (listserv); there is also Skype and Face-to-Face; LinkedIn; and probably a million other little things that supposedly keep me connected. I have two laptops, an iPad2, a mini iPad, one desktop (at work), and an Apple phone. Seems pretty hooked up to me.
Never did I ever imagine that I would be this “hooked up” or connected to the world of technology. I always wanted to be a writer and now I am a media mogul. Now when I write I post those writings on my blog website for the whole world to see. Also, I have discovered that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites can be used as places for micro-blogging. For the Koinonia and Montana Regional Education Service Area III Facebook pages I place short sentences or “hooks” to link people to other interesting and useful information—a mini-blog of sorts. With Mail Chimp I put out a weekly newsletter that connects the congregation not only to my information, but also to other sites they might be interested in. Now whether anyone really cares about what I write or not, at least it is out there floating in cyberspace for anyone who cares to read it. I’d say that I am pretty “hooked up”.
Being an introvert I must admit that all of this technology and the Internet has been a great addition to my private little kingdom. As many of you know, introverts like being by themselves . . . lots of alone time. Introverts also do not like their “space” being intruded upon or invaded. Technology and the Internet have opened up whole new worlds for me as an introvert. I can be connected to the outside world from the privacy of my own little kingdom. Suddenly I have the best of both worlds! I can “hook up” and still “drop out”!
Yeah, yeah . . . I know . . . you are going to tell me that technology and the Internet has the power to intrude and invade my little kingdom of privacy. That is probably true . . . but I have learned the secret. Actually, it is not that much of a secret. I think that every one of us was told the same thing when we started using technology and the Internet: If you don’t like something, turn it off. Turn it off! Oh, how simple. If someone invades or intrudes on any of my Facebook pages that I do not wish to have on them, I simply turn them off—I block them. If someone sends me an email that was not invited . . . I delete it or block the sender. My phone constantly vibrating or beeping? Turn it off! I think that is the nice thing about this “hooking up” stuff that I like . . . I can control it from the privacy of my private little kingdom. I can be as “hooked up” or “unplugged” as I chose to be. I can still drop out.
Technology and the Internet are two powerful tools when it comes to our lives in the 21st century. They enable to be connected, to communicate, and to relate to one another in ways that we never could do years ago. In fact, studies are beginning to show that the old ways of communicating and connecting are quickly fading away as they are replaced by technology and the Internet. Technology and the Internet are not going to disappear. I think that they are here to stay. Because of that all of us need to get with the program or get left behind.
I guess I will continue to sway back and forth between being “hooked up” and “dropping out”. Kind of puts me in the land of “sort of” . . . in the meantime, I need to go check out Facebook, write another blog, and see if I’ve got any emails.