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Hi, my name is Hajara and I am an internet junkie!

Lol! I can hear all your hello’s because you are probably on the seats in front of me! But honestly! That’s a picture of my table when I do not have all of my gadgets out- iPad, blackberry, lap top, alternative screen, the other phone that I used to take the photograph! I do not know what to say… there is no guilt at all! I love my technology and feel like I cannot (do not want to) live without them!

Hence this blog post. My iPad and blackberry screens are broken, I just handed them over to a fellow who is going to have them fixed and returned to me in an hour. And as he turns to leave, I cannot help but feel empty! Like a major part of me is departing! I know right?! You are thinking drama queen! But I do feel stripped… and it got me thinking-why do  I feel this way?

I am unapologetic about my love for my iPad! I am the most raving of raving fans! For me, that one item alone, has increased the quality of my life greatly! With  iTunes, I get to constantly be in the company of people who should speak into my life; from Tony Robbins to T.D Jakes, to Andy Andrews, Dani Johnson, to Dave Ramsey, to all my Ted Talks! Traffic time becomes productive time because I can listen to a whole episode of Entreleadership as I drive (on speaker of course, not in any way that distracts me. I think you owe it to yourself and the people who love you- not to drive distracted! You most certainly owe it to the innocent person who could be the victim of the result of your actions).  With iBooks, I get all the books I want to read without the bulk. I currently try to read a book every 10 days (sizes vary), so iBooks helps me meet those goals. With the keynote app, I create the most beautiful presentations for work and business, add to that the ease of ‘window’ shopping online, connecting with friends and family on Facebook  updating my blog via my WordPress app… you can then see how my iPad meets a lot of needs in one package.

As I write it becomes clearer to me- there are six human needs- the need for certainty, uncertainty (or variety), the need for connection (or love), significance, contribution and growth! We now understand that anything that meets 4 of your human needs becomes addictive (this will be the subject of another post) and I see how easily my technology meets some of those needs. Certainty: my material will be there when I go there- all the podcasts will be updated and when I need knowledge, I will get it. I will get entertained when I want to or get challenged depending on what I chose to listen to. The need for variety or uncertainty is also met on Facebook checking out what is new, on WordPress when I read new and updated posts of other bloggers. These 2 also meet the need for connection, and because I am learning through these resources, my need for growth is met! When I update my WordPress or contribute my 2 cents of wisdom to the internet, then it meets my need for contribution! And the need for significance is somewhat met in the “likes”/feedback received… Wow! That’s the 6 human needs right there! I am not saying technology takes the place of people or that once I have all of my gadgets, people become irrelevant. No! The gadgets ultimately connect me to people so why do I feel so forlorn without them?

It is increasingly worrying because we- the world- are careening towards losing vital in-person connections in favour of through-technology connections! When I go out now, I make a conscious effort to leave my blackberry in my bag because I’ve noticed, you can go into a room full of people and find everyone safely tucked away behind their screens connecting to those not present, while ignoring those who are! I have friends I will consider more than acquaintances whom I have not met but have known for years on Facebook, bb chat or some other internet group or forum!  I posted a blog once about a group of friends on a table at a cafeteria,  they were each on their phones; apparently, one of them forwarded a message to all, they read it, laughed, gave one another high fives and went back to looking at their screens! It was the most amusing, yet disturbing thing ever.

Let’s not even add the TV to this mix! Families in one house, under the same roof but in totally different worlds because they are each glued to different channels on different TV screens! Some parents have to send texts in order to get attention from the children in their rooms and vice versa!

So yes, while I confess to being an internet junkie, I do see how, left uncontrolled it affects life negatively! How you cannot look into my eyes on Facebook or blackberry chat! How an update that says “all things work together for my good” cannot tell you how much pain I’m in and how I need to believe that my pain must have a purpose. How no amount of likes, re-tweets and responses can really replace a long heartfelt hug, a touch, a pat on the back that says “I feel you!” I see how blackberries can be a 3rd and 4th person in a marriage- both people cannot pay attention long enough to resolve a dispute- I wonder if it even quickens the pace of love making- each eager to get back to searching for the all important needles in the haystack of chats and Facebook and fantasy football!

This is me just thinking out loud! I used to find fasting (abstaining from food) difficult until I realised how enthroned my blackberry was, so I started fasting by abstaining from my blackberry for maybe a day or two! To be honest, abstaining from food was much easier! Do you see that this is a problem? Is it one you have too? Do you hear a sentence and automatically think “wow! That’s tweetable?” Or see a beautiful scene and think you must take a picture and send it to Facebook? Do you “think’ using social media (we should do a post on this- how we all leave electronic footprints- so in your 20’s that picture of you drunk with 5 friends pouring champagne on your chest, may stop you from getting employment in your 30’s). If the internet were to tell your story- what would it say? You and I should think about that, while we get disciplined to BE PRESENT, not around but present! To put people over things and genuine connection over what is fleeting! Selah! Don’t forget to be outstanding today! Do everything you do with passion, purpose and panache!

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