Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Technology: The good and the bad

Is it just me, or does it seem like all of this technology, that was designed to brings us closer together, is making us ruder and more intolerant of each other? Now, don't get me wrong, I love technology. I salivated along with millions of others when the iPhone and new Mac Air came out. I've yet to jump on the texting bandwagon. But, I'm a self-professed email junkie. Hell, I've never even met my editor or my agent in person because with email, there really hasn't been a need. It just seems to me that all of this has come at price, and that's one-on-one face-to-face interaction.

I work in a college library and I can't tell you how many students come in with questions about a project. I ask them if they've spoken to their instructor. The answer is always no. And when I point out to them that it would be best for them to speak with their instructor about any questions they have regarding their assignment, the response is always--I swear--well, I can email him/her can't I? They have absolutely no desire to speak face-to-face with the person teaching their class. I don't think this is a matter of finding the time either. Because they also have no desire to know when the instructor's office hours are. I find this very odd. There are also people who come into the library to do research who would rather be lost and confused than to ask anybody a question. Instead, they go home and call or email us. What's up with that?

I'm also bombarded all day long at work with the sound of people's cell phones ringing in the library. Not to mention people having lengthy, and loud, cell phone conversations in the middle of a room where people are trying to study. This isn't just a problem with younger students, either. I work at a community college and the average age of our students is 28 and older. When politely asked to please take their conversations outside, some of these people get irate, or at the very least, give me looks so dirty you'd think I just insulted their mama. The fact that they are being rude and disruptive never occurs to them, which makes me wonder what cell phones are doing to our brains.

Like I've said, I'm not against technology, especially when helps expedite things and cut down on mailing costs, such as email queries and electronic submissions to publishers and agents. I pay all my bills online which is a huge convenience. Or in the instance of book promotion, doing online chats with faraway book clubs, or virtual book tours. But sometimes it's just better to talk to someone face-to-face.



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