What is your best friend’s phone number? Stumped? That makes two of us. A mere decade ago, this question would have us rattling off a seven digit number. Now-a-days, the exercise of remembering things has receded into the background as something mundane and uncalled for. I am not going to go ahead and say something clichéd like “Welcome to the digital era!” We are already neck deep into it. And it has only begun.
We are all spiders in the giant Web, both literally and metaphorically. Intricately woven patterns, both visible and invisible are omnipresent with us holding on for dear life. Let go for a moment and then you’re in oblivion. The brilliant light of human intelligence shines through the webs throwing their dangerously beautiful strands into harsh relief. If there is a blackout, well, no one even dares to consider such a situation.
To attempt to summarize the advancements in technology is a futile task as inventions are taking place as this is being written and read. From fans without blades to augmented reality, you name it and we have it! The world of technology is one big carnival with surprises round every corner. And plenty of corners there are.
Technology encompasses everything from the proverbial Rocket Science to sending a text message. Even a bog standard washing machine has a touch panel these days. Trust me, there has never been a dull moment in the past how-many-ever years. Forget about independence from tyrants and dictators – we are chained more than we can imagine to the little guys in our pockets and palms.
Communication is as old as time itself. Building up on this premise is the Big Daddy – Social Media. Gadgets serve as the channels through which the Social Media reaches out with its tentacles and grabs us all. Heck, does it need to reach out at all? Everybody goes to it more than willingly. Staying connected is akin to oxygen to today’s humans.
Social networking started out as a means for a small group of people to catch up with each other. It has grown into gigantic proportions today with almost one in six people on one social network or the other. As you might already know, if Facebook were to be a country, it would be the third largest in the world in terms of population.
The draw of such a large enterprise is hard to resist. The Internet is THE place to start for everything – writing a new novel? Making a movie? Recording a new song? Launching a brand? Planning a party? Taking a holiday? Doing homework? Household chores? Let the world know! Each of us would have at least one friend that lives on Facebook or Twitter. With the Internet, everybody has a voice, everybody has a say, everybody’s opinion counts. It is your best buddy when you contest for elections – irrespective of whether you’re running for President of America or President of the Book Society down the lane. You simply have to have a presence on the World Wide Web for visibility. Major brands take social media seriously and use it as a vehicle for promotions. This is in turn generates more following, better returns and builds a more personal relationship with the consumers.
Technology plays a role in every walk of life. It wakes us up in the morning, gets us through the day and puts us to sleep in the night. A life devoid of technology is simply unperceivable. There is no turning back from where we are now. The only direction is forward. Technology has transformed the use of seemingly ordinary devices. Sample the pen – apart from performing the function required of it, it can act as a discreet camera from its perch in your pocket. Spectacles are no longer for the bookworms and the nerds – they are on the track to becoming the next tech must-haves. Products like Google Glasses will bring your smartphone’s screen right in front of your eyes without having to remove the phone itself from your pocket.
It would be terribly unfair not to talk about the darker side of technology. Sometimes, I catch myself wishing that my phone never existed. Life was much simpler when I didn’t know of any other Apple other the one in the illustrated Alphabet book. Agreed, the new Apple claims to make life much simpler and exciting, but where do the complications arise from? It seems like we create problems just so as to market the solution. These gadgets are necessitated by the lifestyle changes that the people of the world undergo. Alternately, it may be suggested that the gadgets and technology and social media mould the lifestyle of the people. It is a vicious and never-ending cycle. Attention disorders, diminishing regard for human emotions, ability to build strong interpersonal relationships, the inability to socialize without a screen in front of you are all commonplace. When I read about a father e-mailing his son from downstairs, asking him to join the family for dinner, I dismissed it as a mere joke. Soon I realized that it was indeed a real life scenario. Have we set up a civilization that is rapidly rattling towards doom? There is no saying.
Cheesy as this may sound, “Love me or hate me, you cannot ignore me!” Yes. That should be the slogan for technology, gadgets and social media. All these three have certainly touched our lives in some way or the other and it is prudent to stay informed and on top of things. Ride the wave, don’t drown.