This post is a day late, but I was out enjoying life yesterday, so I think that makes up for it! On Friday, I wrote about how disconnecting from my Smartphone was helping me overcome some stress-induced obstacles lately. And that’s still true. This weekend, the first I’ve spent without having access to my office email from my iPhone, the curiosity did set in. I wondered if I’d heard back from a manager abroad who was signing off on a press release and had a moment of worry that perhaps there was some important message about a project I needed to do last-minute. I’m over it. I refused to check my email and occupied my mind with something else – sitting.
But despite my desire to gradually move away from such distractions on my evenings and weekends, having a Smartphone does come with some distinct advantages. I don’t mean the obvious – being constantly connected; having a web browser in your pocked (though that’s certainly very handy); or increasing your productivity both in and out of the office – but rather the surprising connections it’s afforded me. And of course, there’s an app for nearly everything. Some of my must-have applications include:
I realized on Friday, as I completed my post, that while disconnecting is important to me, making the right kind of connections is even more valuable. The truth is, while fun and useful applications are great, what they’ve done for me is provide channels to genuinely connect in ways I never thought imaginable. On Thursday evening I was #sambafied for the first time courtesy of @yycsamba, @endeavorarts, @vlrny and @mbraithwaite. It struck me as I sat there, digging the rhythmic beats, that I was in the room in large part thanks to Twitter. A simple decision, like going to PechaKucha Night #7 (Love) in February sparked a chain reaction I never expected. I met Valerie, who introduced me to a world of interesting and fantastic local Tweeps, which has in turn linked me to a host of events and opportunities to meet and connect with people and experiences I may have never known about.
But I can’t give my Smartphone or my various Twitter apps all – or in fact even most – of the credit. While they may have been the tools I used to connect, it was how I used them that’s the moral of the story. In a world filled with technology, much of it designed to connect in ways whereby we a) never have to leave our offices/homes/classrooms, and b) can experience the world around us without ever experiencing the world around us. It’s easy to become complacent – children play interactive video games instead of going outside and own virtual pets that never demand real affection. There’s a faux connection there masquerading as something more.
Twitter, Facebook, Meetup – these connect me to samba drumming events, film festivals, poetry readings and more, but I connect me to the people, the events and the meaning of these things, and nothing – certainly no iPhone application – can replace that.