Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Has My Relationship with Mobile Changed?

Quick answer: no.

I had a chat with my Mom about mobile technologies during the Great Derecho Blackout of 2012.  (Mom and Dad had power, I didn't - great excuse to go visit the folks.)

She was lamenting how people (like my brother) get distracted by their cell phones when talking to you in person, how mobile technologies are a leash, how the expectation is that we are always on and always answering, and that this is fundamentally wrong.

Very interesting, considering she used to be a Sales Manager for a beeper company back in the 80s and has been the most technologically mobile person in the family up until my brother got his first real cell phone.

I've managed to manipulate mobile technology for my own purposes - a few old-school phone calls, texting a few close friends (slowly - I suck at mobile typing), the occasional answer search on the internet, and taking pictures.  Time spent at mLearnCon didn't change these patterns much. 

I still leave my phone in the car, or at home, and almost always on vibrate if I am with people.
If I know I am "on call" - I warn the person I am talking to.  Otherwise, in person trumps phone.
If someone calls me and I don't recognize the number (or am just feeling anti-social) - I don't answer.
Leave a message - I will get back to you...eventually.

Is this effective?  Efficient?  Erm....probably not.  Behind-the-times?  Absolutely.

Something about this technology has always brought out the Luddite in me.

GPS and location-tracking makes me even more nervous. 
My GPS is only on when I am using the Navigator function on my Android. 
And then, only under duress when I haven't printed out directions from Google Maps.

Anytime, Anywhere, 24/7 Access.
The mobile goal for my institution.
Good for others.
Not for me.

I hesitate when I find myself recommending something to others I am personally uncomfortable with.

Maybe I'm a little paranoid.  Maybe I spent way too much time in my History of Science and Technology days learning about unintended consequences.

But I wonder....at what price convenience?

2 comments:

geewhy said...

Have you tried a video call with your mom? Oddly enough, this feature got my wife, her mom, and other family members on a mobile kick. We use Tango or FaceTime to video call our out-of-state family so the kids can all see each other. I personally don't like video calls, but it has an appeal for a different crowd.

Dave Ferguson said...

I'm not a Luddite. I'm more of an accidental techie.

When personal computers started emerging (the Apple II, the Osborne) I was curious but lacked the technical bent and especially the spare cash to do anything about it. Around 1980, my day job required me to work almost daily with the developers and end-users building a new mainframe system, and so while not a true believer, I spent a lot of time in the Temple of Tech.

For me, it's always been a lot more about what could get done than about what did it. This isn't an indictment of others, just a description of me.

In general, I agree: in person trumps phone. If you're on call, then you let the in-person person know.

I have a ringtone for my wife; another for my children; another for my mom and my siblings. Otherwise, though I value friends, colleagues, and clients, most of the time I'm not involved in anything all that earth-shaking. If you can't reach me, leave a message.

And let's face it. Nobody's "anytime, anywhere, 24/7." And after the first 36 hours, nobody wants them to be, either.