Monday, September 6, 2010

Media Frenzy

We truly live in a remarkable era. People can communicate in a variety of ways via such things as cell phones, texting, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, blogging, and so forth. Computers that once filled entire rooms, can now be held in the palm of one's hand. It will be interesting to see what will be invented next.

I remember typing my first novel on an electric typewriter---top of the line for its day. The down side of using this device was that whenever something needed to be corrected, it usually meant retyping an entire chapter.

How excited I was when we purchased our first desktop computer. It was a 286 IBM compatible complete with a word processor, and other software programs designed to make several tasks easier. To understand it all, I took a computer class that was being offered locally. There are still items I can do compliments of this training, despite the fact that my newest computer is now a Toshiba laptop with a 287 gigabyte hard-drive. Windows 7 is its operating system, and this laptop possesses the technology to create and play DVD's. I'm still amazed by how fast it runs in comparison to my first laptop.

This new technology has made it easier to compose manuscripts. My cell phone makes it possible for my family and friends to contact me, regardless of where I might be. It even possesses a tiny camera, if I should feel the need to snap a photo to share. And while I am grateful for these and other improvements in our world, I am also a little concerned. As with everything else, there needs to be a balance.

I've heard it said that one day books will be obsolete. That thought saddens me, and I, for one, doubt that will ever be true. I suspect there are several of us who prefer holding a book and savoring the pages, as opposed to reading text online, or via something like Kindle.

My other concern is that we aren't spending near as much time enjoying "face to face" communication. It doesn't seem that long ago when several of my neighbors and I would gather most mornings for a refreshing walk about town. Not only was this a great way to exercise, but it gave us a chance to touch base with each other. Everyone's schedules are so crazy now, we're lucky if we get a chance to wave at each other in passing. I see more of some friends online, than in person.

While I will be forever grateful for the technology that has made keeping in touch easier (I loved being able to receive e-mail from my missionary sons each week, as opposed to waiting for handwritten letters to arrive) it saddens me that so many of us are leaning toward online communication that may or may not be a healthy alternative. People can be deceiving online, taking on a persona totally different from who they really are. I believe it's much easier to discern who someone is when you can actually see their face.

I also think it's important to disconnect from all of the gadgetry periodically and to embrace life around us. We all need to spend more time outside, appreciating the beauty God created for us to enjoy. I think it's sad that so many people are caught up in make believe worlds online and in video games. I enjoy playing games . . . mostly old-fashioned board games or card games that have been family favorites for years. ;) I believe that games of this nature are a healthier alternative and a great way to bring families closer together.

So while I will always be grateful for the technology that has preserved my life (I've been an insulin pump patient for years. Just call me the bionic woman.) I think it's important to balance this progressive technology trend with old-fashioned values that in my opinion are never outdated.

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