Slowing Technology Down

I’m an avid user of technology.  I do think we need to take more control and start slowing technology down, however.

Here’s what I mean…

I surf the Internet, I use mobile technology, I text, I Tweet, etc… so I’m not afraid of what the latest technology can do for us.

What I am afraid of is what some types of technology, and the attached mentalities behind buying, consuming, and using said technology… are doing TO us.

There have been spectacular innovations within the last 50 years.  The Internet, the mobile phone, the social media, wearable technology, sensor technology etc…

All of it, good innovation in concept, and for the most part, in use.

That said, we need to slow down what I will call our “consumer mentality” when using various technologies… and instead adapt a more-focused “user mentality.”  Here’s the difference:

Consumer mentality = “gotta get the latest update/version/gadget/color/Tweet/text/etc…” in order to claim my status within society.

User mentality = “think ‘do we really need to upgrade?’/Tweeting valuable content, not what you had for breakfast/I don’t NEED to get that latest text right away/I shut OFF my phone from time to time as appropriate/Bottom line, I USE the technology, it does NOT run my life at all, EVER.”

Bottom line, life-saving, world-changing, problem solving technologies are a good thing.  Standing in line so you can try and be first to get the latest iPhone 5s and get your 15 minutes of fame on YouTube… that is more of the consumer mentality.

We need to slow down our technology so we can use it, and quit letting it use us.

Their marketing and advertising is aimed at turning you into a consumer, so they can increase their quarterly revenue and churn out profits.  They could care less if you lose a bit of your humanity in the process.

But, don’t take it from me, look around the next time you walk down a city streets, or drive in traffic… how many people aren’t paying attention?

We need to fix that.  And, that is only one small example of many examples for the need to slow down our technology.  Focus more on the world-changing, problem solving, life saving stuff… and WAY less on getting a bigger camera in your phone.

The main inspiration for this rant, comes from the potential I see with our use of technology.  I suppose I would like to see technology being developed and used in a way that makes this world a better place, not a tabloid news bite.

Slow Consumption

If we keep treating ourselves as a product, companies will have no trouble selling cheap and crappy products to us.

We have to demand more, of them and ourselves.

And that brings me to slow consumption.

Let me ask you a question…

Do you have a garage or storage unit full of “stuff”?  Have you touched that stuff in the last year?  Six months?

If you haven’t, get rid of it, and most importantly QUIT replacing it.  You don’t need to buy more stuff, if you’re not using the stuff you have.

Keeping it “just in case?”  Yeah, I thought you would think that.

How often has “just in case” happened?  Yep… my point exactly.  And even if it had happened, if “just in case” only happens once a decade (or a little less), could you possibly find a different way to get through the situation?

(No, I’m not talking about “go bags” or emergency kits here, quit trying to make excuses for your laziness)

Slow consumerism (or consumption) is not blindly getting rid of everything, but it’s a careful and honest analysis of keeping and using only what you need to live comfortably (and being careful about justifying “why” you’re keeping stuff, most likely, you need to get rid of it).

Because here’s the deal, here’s where we have a little honest talk about your stuff…

  • Nobody really (deep down) cares what you wear.  The latest “fashions” are just marketing designed to get you to buy more clothes.
  • Nobody really (deep down) cares if you have the latest iPhone (or other gadget), unless THEY went and upgraded first… then THEY care about themselves, not your upgrade.
  • Nobody really cares about whether or not you have the “tool to do the job” buried somewhere in your garage.  In fact, how many times have you actually been able to find that tool when you really need it?  Thought so.
  • And even if you COULD find that tool, by the way, if you only use that tool once every 5 years… why is it taking up space in your garage?
  • In short… playing “beat the Jones-es” is a dangerous and expensive game to play, and marketing from companies is only designed to get you to buy more stuff, they don’t give a shit about what you have to do to maintain that/store that/replace that stuff later on.

Slow your consumption down people… your wallet, your stress level, and the landfills across our country will thank you.

Plus, maybe those companies would learn a valuable lesson about creating quality if us consumers weren’t so stupid as to buy their useless crap all the time, right?

We vote with our dollar, so let’s vote for the good stuff, and cut out the “mass produced for the masses” stuff OK?

Slow Privacy

With the recent developments concerning the NSA… we have to have a big, unified, and thorough discussion on privacy.

Slow privacy.

The difference between privacy and “slow” privacy lies in how anything concerning the privacy of the citizens of our country is presented.

Take Facebook for example… they push the boundaries of our privacy all the time.  They’ll come out with a feature, seemingly wait to get push back on that feature if it violates our idea of privacy… then finally make a change.

It’s a process.

That’s “regular” privacy.

Slow privacy would be the same scenario, but instead of Facebook just pushing out a feature, and trying to push its version of privacy on the world… instead they go more slowly… and listen to the community FIRST, to see if that feature is even necessary or could be improved in a “beta” mode that doesn’t affect the 1 BILLION accounts in that community.

Go slowly.

Slow privacy ALSO pertains to giving us, the users, the consumers… a means to set boundaries that ALL companies, media, Government etc… MUST abide by.  A set of “privacy terms” for us as users.

Because let’s face it, every one of us is different in our expectations of privacy… some people are willing to reveal more, and some less, of ourselves online and offline.  These terms would also immediately establish ownership of said data (like emails, posts, etc…).

So, these terms would tell other companies EXACTLY how they can use our data, if we want to be private… we can be.  If we don’t, we don’t have to be.

Just because people want their privacy, doesn’t mean they want to hide anything, and actually privacy establishes these “terms.”

Did You Notice The Birds?

Your mobile phone is ringing.

Another text is coming in… you have email in your inbox, there is an “important” meeting you need to attend.

You’ve got to upgrade your laptop, your mobile phone, your sunglasses… you need more stuff… need to go to that party (to be on your phone again).

Life keeps moving faster, faster, faster… you’re sooooo busy.

BULLSHIT.

You’ve made all of your “busy-ness” up.  It’s a status symbol.

Deep down, you think you “need” to be busy, or society won’t accept you.

BULLSHIT again.

While all this was happening… the coolest bird just flew by.  Your son, your daughter, they’ve been asking for your attention.

Your wife, she wants to make passionate love to you.

Your husband, he wants to tell you something… but you keep getting that damn phone.

Did you notice the birds?

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Slow Social Media

If you want to be, you could be connected 24/7.

In fact, there are some people that don’t stop answering their phone, checking their status on whatever social media account, don’t stop to talk to someone without connecting to something else etc…

Bullshit.  This is complete and utter bullshit.

Why do that to yourself?  Because some commercial on TV said you had to?

(Have you ever slowed down long enough to analyze WHY you do these things?  It’s OK, most people haven’t read another book past high school, so you’re not alone)

For the purposes of my book, and this blog… I’m defining social media as any media form that you interact socially with someone or something else.

So, slow social media would mean slowing down long enough to have a full conversation with everyone you talk to face to face, 100% of the time… for example.

Can you imagine that?

Can you imagine turning your phone off, for most of the day, and picking times of the day where you immerse yourself in media and return phone calls.

I know, I know, you might miss something if you don’t have it on 100% of the time, engaging your Twitter feed while you’re talking to people, and acting what I like to call “bullshit busy.”

(That means you’re acting busy, for some reason, but it’s really bullshit)

Who cares if you miss something?  Was there some scheduling deity from up above that came down and decreed:

“You MUST answer the phone when it rings, you MUST answer every status update, or post your own… or even look for something to do online when there is nothing… you MUST!”

I think not.

And the sad thing is, we do this when we’re talking to another person right across from us… or even worse… while we’re driving a car.

Have you stopped to think what the other person is thinking when you do this?

Didn’t think so… most people haven’t.

And the REALLY sad thing is, this is just one sliver, one small example of our 24/7/365 society and social media use.

So slow down… try turning the phone off unless you CHOOSE to engage in social media and return voice messages.  You’ll probably find you really don’t miss that much, and the weird feeling you get?  That will go away.

The reward?  Your time. 😉  And that’s a reward that is becoming more and more valuable as we go along.

NOTE:  I am active on social media, but slowly, at a pace I control… and I have to say the boredom I feel sometimes is a relief, not a negative consequence.  As for the mobile phone, it stays off until I want to use it.  Amazing concept eh?

ANOTHER NOTE:  Yes, I used to be the 24/7/365 guy… and man I’m ashamed of myself for sinking to that level.  Not to mention the health consequences.  Let’s slow down, and take back control of our lives folks.

As the title to this website says…

“In a world focused on speed, life begins by slowing down.”