AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

AREN’T YOU SMARTER THAN YOUR PHONE?

Posted by sgreene68 on June 18, 2011

(This is the first of several blogs to come. Although they were sent in real time, my account refused to work correctly until now. See several more to follow in chronological order)…

Technology has really been getting on my nerves lately. To be honest, it gets on my nerves pretty often. As someone whose profession depends on staying ahead of the curve of trends at all times, I have a healthy respect for the tremendous benefits that technological advances offer society and me in specific. However, maybe I’m a rarity, but the old-fashioned side of me also thinks we have become so reliant on technology such as “smart phones” that we spend just as much or more time learning to use them, and researching, programming, replacing, and especially recovering from their failures, as we spend on the time they’re supposed to save us.

The simple fact that we call smart phones smart is an oxymoron. Ok, so my iPhone remembers my contacts, allows me to search the Internet, and it even has a Global Positioning System (GPS). But what’s happened to my own memory over the past several years? I can’t remember my own telephone number, let alone my friend and family’s numbers. I’m dating myself by saying this, but I remember a time when I knew everyone’s telephone number by heart. I also knew their home address.

And I remember a time when students conducted research by reading books (novel idea huh?). With technological advances such as the Internet, it’s become the norm for students to copy and paste straight off the Internet, without ever realizing they hadn’t researched anything in the first place. Today, many college students have never learned correct grammar or how to spell because they’ve relied on spell check their whole lives. As a result, they don’t know the difference between or how to spell “its –vs- it’s”, “your –vs- you’re, “sales –vs- sails,” “affect –vs- effect,” “there –vs- their –vs- they’re”, “we’re –vs- were,” and “hell –vs- he’ll.”

I spent 2 hours in the Apple store last night. Two days prior, out of nowhere, my Mac Book Pro laptop would do nothing except beep beep beep without booting on. I was deathly afraid the hard drive was shot. Apple’s self-titled “Genius” attempted to repair it by removing a memory chip and ordering a new one, which I have to pick up in 5 days. 2 hours + 2 days + roundtrip travel time (30 min x 4 trips = 2 hours) and gas ($10 x 4 = $40) to the Apple store + 5 more workdays = 7 days, 4 hours and $40 will be lost by the time I get that darn memory chip…not including the overdue work I’ll have to do.

A few months ago I visited the Apple store to learn how to sync my phone to my laptop so I could learn to save all of my information. Instead of saving my information, after an hour with another Genius, he’d lost the past 6 months of photos I had taken of my son, and a very important voice recorded interview I had conducted that my job depended on. I was so shocked at the loss of dozens of photos of a butterfly strolling along my son’s arm, I broke out into tears. I felt embarrassed by my own public tears and betrayed by a Genius. I spent the next two hours with other Geniuses trying to recover information that was lost forever. 3 hours of my life and 6 months of memories were gone for good.

How smart was it of me to #1) stop using my own smart brain to remember important phone numbers, 2) rely on a devices’ memory to save photos when an old fashioned camera would never have lost them, 3) rely on another human being to save my life’s memories without my knowing how to save them myself, 4) pay $350 for a device that could do such a thing in the first place, and 4) spend 3 hours on a gorgeous weekend indoors with Geniuses on machines, instead of outside having fun in real life? If I were an attorney whose time was worth $300 an hour, I would have lost $900 of my time, and wasted $350 on an iPhone with a $150 monthly bill I could do without. Total loss of time and expenses = $1,400. The average American must work to afford to live. Therefore, all of our time is worth money…isn’t it?

A few years ago I was at the office working on a project at 1:00 in the morning when my computer suddenly crashed the moment I was finished! It took everything in me not to literally throw the damn thing out the window. After 16 hours of work my computer lost everything. Another time, I was pissed at a co-worker and for the fun of it I impulsively started drafting an email with lovely words I desperately wanted to say to him. It went something like this…. “Hello Paul, you are such an annoying asshole that I would love to”

And guess what?! I accidentally pressed send! I panicked not knowing what to do next to save my ass, and possibly my job. I decided to compliment Paul’s gigantic ego. So I called him and guilt fully lied “Hey Paul, that was a great sales meeting we had today. I hope you didn’t mind the way I teased you in my email. It was sent before I could end it by saying I would love to invite you for a drink to thank you.” Thank God his ego was so big he didn’t notice the real message my email was meant to send.

In the good ole days of typewriters, if I worked until 1:00 in the morning, my work would’ve still been there, with no need to “save” it. In the good ole days if I made a mistake entertaining myself while drafting a secret message, I could use White Out or correction tape to correct it and that was that. There was no need to lose my integrity by lying, and following it by wasting money to treat an asshole to drinks to save a job I didn’t deserve to lose.

I would like to pose a question. But first, try to ignore whether you’re the kind of person who loves technology, even if you’re one of those strange early adopter types (nothing personal!) ;). Take a look at your life and calculate all the time it takes for you or someone else to program your smart phone, iPad, iPod, GPS, Blackberry, laptop, and desktop, etc. Then calculate how much time you spend in the Apple store or wherever you get them updated, upgraded, or repaired, etc, etc. Add the time your GPS got you lost, when you would have arrived on time with written directions. Now, be honest and add all the time you lost when any of those devices lost your important information. Add the money you spend on printer ink, batteries, chargers, docking stations, CD’s, DVD’s, and software. Don’t forget to include the last time you lost a thumb drive or flash drive, or the time you left one at home instead of taking it to an important presentation at work. You get the idea.

Finally, calculate how much your time is worth. If you’re in a salaried position, divide your weekly salary by 40 hours or so. Multiply that number by the number of hours you spent on each of the devices as described above. Then ask yourself…

How smart am I?

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