Dear readers, welcome back at my page! This week I want to continue writing about technology and the human factor that is inseparably connected to it. In my previous blogs I have talked about technology in warfare, in public places and last week I answered some questions that came to mind and by doing so I created some new insights. This week I continue on these new insights with one main question: Do we control technology or does technology control us?
I came to this main subject by collaborating with classmate Alex. I was thinking about a new subject to write about that would connect with my previous blogs. With the help of Alex I came to this subject of how we control technology or vice versa. He encouraged me to write more about the psychological aspect of technology. He said: “Think about what influence technology has on our behaviour”. Therefor I came up with this main question to be answered in this blog (or at least try to be answered). Alex also suggested to search for some extra articles on the internet about the controlling aspect of technology. Then I found these two interesting articles on the website of the Huffingtonpost. One was called “Take control of your technology before it takes control of you” (2012) and the other one was called “Technology vs. Humans; Who’s controlling whom?” (2011). Both articles really helped me. They helped creating a better opinion on the subject and gave me more ideas about what to write because they showed me what psychological aspects were important to keep in mind when writing this blog.
The first thing I want you to do as a reader is to take a moment and think about this. What is the role of technology in your daily life? Do you need it to survive the day and have some fun at your boring office? Or maybe you need it in your work to be connected with colleagues? And does it play a big or small part? Do you need it 24/7 or can you go days/weeks without it? And yes, don’t you forget that your mobile phone and laptop are pieces of technology! How long can you resist watching social media on it? Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram etc.…
Nowadays people are seriously suffering from this “thing” that’s called “FOMO”, which stands for fear of missing out. I think I might have it to. I can go without social media, including Whatsapp, for maybe a day or two but not much longer. And I’m 100% sure that I’m not the only one. I know there are people that can’t go without social media for one hour… I know this because I have some friends who literally can’t go without social media for one hour. I find this sometimes very disturbing but I guess that’s just how it is in 2015 with a lot of people.
It all has to do with anxiety as I have read in the articles mentioned before. We, and yes by “we” I mean you as well, just want to know what’s going on around us. And the other keyword here is attention. All the applications we’ve got on our phone grab our attention and not only that, we want attention ourselves to. This started from the day you were born. As a baby you wanted attention from your parents and as an adult you want it from the people in your network or even further than that. Ok, now there are always some exceptions, but most of us adults like attention. And getting it by means of social media is just easier and faster because by one post (on Facebook for example) you can get it from everyone who’s following you. I think the worst part of all of this is that by this phenomenon we miss out on other things in life. The little things, but these are often very valuable. For example receiving a handwritten card or letter. Do you still get them at home from friends? I don’t but when I did I also got really excited. I guess it’s outdated now… Or catching up with someone in a restaurant or bar because you haven’t heard of him/her in a long time. Nowadays I can everything someone is doing on Facebook. Some people even dare to post when they are sitting on the toilet and they ran out of toilet paper!! (yes, true story…) That’s also why me and my friends often put away our phones when we are at a bar and just play cards and laugh with each other. And by putting them away I mean giving them to the bartender to put them in a box so nobody can get to his phone. I dare you to do this one time when you’re out with your friends and I guarantee you it will be a great night out! By putting your phone away it just gets old-fashioned fun and you get more loose with your friend instead of your phone. And think about it, what’s more valuable to you, your real life friends or your phone?
When I look at this through the eyes of an employee I think a bit different about technology. For some jobs you just need to be connected with colleagues or clients/customers. Than social media can be of great use. But if you don’t need it directly in your work you shouldn’t use it while working. But ok, you may use it in breaks, that’s reasonable. Although I think it’s better to just have a good chat with colleagues instead of watching your phone the entire break.
To conclude it all I will try to answer the main question. I think that there is a lot to be said about technology and how it is being controlled or controlling us. I think the answer to the question depends on how you look at it. I think when you read the thinks I wrote in this blog it’s to be said that it does control us in a certain way. But I think we shouldn’t blame the technology. We should blame ourselves, the users. Let us keep in mind that we created this technology and social media ourselves and that we must not forget about the beautiful things real life has to offer (think about the examples I gave). I don’t want to say technology is a bad thing because technology often is an enrichment to our lives. There are lots of technological developments that make life easier or even make us live longer (think about the blogs I wrote earlier). But it’s in the way we are using it. So think about your behaviour in all of this for a moment and don’t let technology control you!