We Live Inside A Bubble: Life With Technology vs Life Without Technology
It’s hard to realize how isolated your life can be, how different you are than the rest of the world, until you experience what it’s like to live on the other side. It’s nearly impossible to deny that I live, breathe and experience cutting edge technology in my every days life.
Sure. We all know it. The Silicon Valley, the place I call home, is an incredibly atypical community. It’s the home to some of the largest and most influential technology companies in the world. It’s not surprising that people’s lives in this area are vastly different than those of people in the rest of the world.
After spending 12 days away from technology while at Hidden Villa summer camp I have discovered just how fun it can be to live without relying so much on technology in my daily life. There is a whole world out there, waiting to be explored. There are thousands and thousands of species of trees and plants and animals that don’t use an ounce of electricity. There are even people out there that don’t own a computer and their lives seem to be going great.
Inside the bubble, life is so predictable. So boring. So ordinary. So planned. So stressful. I feel pressured to tweet about what I’m doing at all times. I feel obligated to stay up to date and read TechCrunch, Mashable, Engadget, VentureBeat, AllThingsD, The Apple Blog, 9 to 5 Mac… (the list goes on and on.) I feel like my friendships are defined by Facebook. I feel like knowledge of startups and new gadgets equates to importance in life. I feel pressured to always buy the newest things when they come out. I sometimes mistake the internet for the universe and I can’t possibly imagine life without access to the internet.
I have internet wherever I go. I am never disconnected. If I ever have something that I feel like sharing, then, by all means, I can and will share it at that instant. I have internet at my house of course. But, I also have internet on my phone. And I have a 3G connection on my laptop. When I’m connected, I feel like I am inside of a bubble. No matter where I am, no matter what I am doing, everything and everyone that I care about is at my fingertips. It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting at home at my desk or out and about doing my thing. If something happens, I am notified immediately. When Michael Jackson died, I was out at lunch but I knew immediately because I had my iPhone with me. When Billy Mays died, I was in the Grand Cayman on vacation. When Facebook bought FriendFeed I was waiting for my lunch.
When I get up in the morning I go on the internet and read TechCrunch, update my Twitter status and go on Facebook. Whereas, in much of the world, people spend their mornings milking a cow or enjoying breakfast with their family. During school, I continue to update Twitter often discussing what I felt about a test or sharing random thoughts that popped into my head during class. I then will text my friends to find them and meet for lunch. At lunch, I usually scan TechCrunch, go on Facebook and read people tweets.
I feel like I have been living a life that is defined by connectivity. I get the feeling that there is nothing to do when Comcast goes down or AT&T fails once again. I feel like I have to be connected at all times or else…
It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without the kind of constant connections I rely on today. While I most definitely can’t fathom what it would be like to live in an era before the internet, I can’t even picture what it would be like to not have access to your email whenever you need it. For me, knowing stuff makes me tick. I am the kind of person who would say something like “have you heard of Brizzly” and have no one answer me with a yes.
When I was getting ready for camp, I was thinking about how hard it would probably be for me to survive without an internet connection. At first, I couldn’t believe what I had gotten myself into. But then, I realized that I had to make it through the twelve days, it’s not like I was going to literally die because I couldn’t read TechCrunch or update Twitter. So with that attitude I went to camp where I did things like make french fries from potatoes which we picked and I even walked a goat through the woods. All of this without an internet connect.
It turned out okay. Actually, it tuned out amazing. I couldn’t believe that I had done it. I am now back at home where I have the internet once again. But now, I don’t find the internet as amazing as I did before. When I first got home I went strait to my room and grabbed my laptop. I thought there would be so much for me to do. After all, 12 days without internet means a whole lot of Facebook notifications and TechCrunch articles to catchup on. Sure, I was right. A lot had built up while I was gone but I just didn’t care. What I really wanted to do was go outside and have fun in the real world.
Now, when I find myself glued to my computer reading each and every TechCrunch article, I think about how fun it would be to be taking a goat for a walk. I now know just how fun the world that mother nature has created for us can be. The world is filled with billions of people who are living their every day lives just like those 12 days I spent at camp. Billions of people who don’t give a $#!+ that Facebook bought FriendFeed.
So, perhaps the best way to live is in the middle. Technology is something that I am passionate about. There is no use ditching it. I just don’t need to be so addicted. So, next time I see the Fail Whale or AT&T goes down, I don’t have to feel like the world is coming to an end. Maybe it’s just a sign.
As Dr. Carl Sagan once said…
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.