Discuss Something: I’m a Tech-holic, You’re a Tech-holic, Everyone’s a Tech-holic
I was ten-years-old when I first logged onto the internet. It was the summer of 1999, and my family had recently ditched the old Macintosh Color Classic for the newer, sexier, teal-er iMac. The circular mouse fit perfectly in my dad’s warm hand as he glided the cursor toward the ‘connect’ button and waited for the dial tone. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. Ring, ring. Boing, beep, boing, beep. Static, static. My older sister and I crowded around the screen, eagerly waiting for the website to load. And then it happened. The Beanie Baby Club website appeared, and I was addicted.
I was sixteen-years-old when I got my first cellphone. It was the summer of 2005, and my older sister was headed off to college – making me an ‘only child’ for the first time in my life. The shiny, blue flip phone with the flimsy antenna wasn’t really something I coveted, but my parents insisted I have it for emergencies. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. Ring, crackle, ring, crackle, ring. The reception was always questionable out in the midwestern countryside where we lived, but I learned to to be patient and bide my time while the connection spitted and sputtered. And then it happened. I heard a familiar voice on the other end of the line, and I was addicted.
I was nineteen-years-old when I joined Facebook. It was the summer of 2008, and I had just graduated from high school with top honors. My older sister sat at the computer typing away as she helped set up my new account. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. Click, click, tap, tap, click. In minutes, I was a member of the network, busily searching for high school friends that would inevitably drift from my orbit as they headed for various colleges. It didn’t even matter that some of these classmates weren’t close friends of mine. We had just spent thirteen years together, and that was enough of a pretense to befriend them. I wanted to befriend them, and I was addicted.
I was twenty-three-years-old when I purchased my first smartphone. It was the fall of 2012, and I was struggling mightily to adjust to post-college life. The package arrived late in the afternoon, and I opened it nervously with a small box cutter. Cut, cut, tear, pop. Cut, cut, flop. It felt light and smooth in my hands as I turned it on with one click, and the screen flashed to life. The colored icons that filled the screen were begging to be tested, but things soon went arwry. My failure to properly read the instructions had left me with a seemingly unworkable phone. I tapped and explored the different settings – nothing. So, I begrudgingly called the helpline (because I know how to use technology, damn it!), and was quickly reset. It was a rocky start, but I was addicted.
I was twenty-four-years-old when I began using Instagram. It was the summer of 2013, and I had just hosted a baby shower for my older sister. The popular app had caught my attention months earlier, but I never felt as though my life was interesting enough to document. Click, shutter, click, shutter. I quickly snapped numerous pictures of the baby-themed day, and set about building my new account. There were so many photos to see, and so many filters to test: Amaro, Mayfair, Rise, Hudson, Valencia, X-Pro II, Sierra, Willow, Lo-Fi, and Earlybird. And Sutro, and Toaster, and Brannan. It was almost too much, and I was addicted.
I’m addicted to technology. We’re addicted to technology, and in some ways, that isn’t surprising.
Recent studies have shown that nearly 96% of American millennials, and thus most twentysomethings, are digital natives. We grew up with the personal computer. We grew up with the internet. We grew up as technology grew up. And know we spend hours upon hours connected to it.
So, who would we be without it? How would twentysomethings be defined with no computers, no internet, no Facebook, no Instagram, and no smart phones?
Would we be less self-involved? Or just less involved?
Would we be less obsessed with instant gratification? Or just less gratified?
Would we use better grammar? Or just better handwriting?
Would we be better people? Or just less informed people?
Would we be free of time-consuming addictions? Or would we just be addicted to something else?
Who would we be if we were technology-free?
– l xo