Call it techno-fatigue.
Everyday, a new shiny thing gets launched to market. Rumors fly about its specs, size, and services. After the unveiling, doomsayers say the product won’t sell. Market proves them wrong. Consumers gobble it up. It becomes a hit. Eighteen months later, a new new thing is launched again. Consumers feel they’ve been duped.
I’ve been exposed to too many technologies for years. I did write reviews about them, picking features I liked from those that are mediocre. Today, I’m still trying to learn the newer features of my operating system upgrade, er, version N+.1. It’s an unending iteration, as software companies continue to improve and quash bugs.
Social and mobile media didn’t help that much too. Everyday, I get bombarded with shiny new stuff: games, apps, services, and even spam in my SMS inbox. Many of these stuff I don’t need, but because of my curiosity, I still give them some attention. Then my excitement fades and I delete them from my phone.
We’re under pressure to keep up with the high-tech Joneses. We want to be ahead of the curve. We need to have the latest gadget. And then what? We don’t know.
I admire how mobile and digital technology have somehow made our lives “easier” and yet complicated. (We now have to keep charging our batteries every night because we want to check our Facebook stream).
I read start-ups introducing the new, new thing—but many fail to even create a market or audience because their ideas seem too far-fetched.
New phones, new TVs (smarter TVs), new appliances (connected ones too), and new software–they’re all coming. But most are fragmented. Connected they may be, some are like add-ons to a list of existing technology that we already have. (Fancy a fast-er charger?)
Let me list some observations, and I will let you weigh in on it. Hopefully, as you purchase your shiny, new, new stuff, you’ll think twice if it’s worth it, or it’s excess baggage:
- Do you really, really need it now? If you’re buying just to impress someone, don’t. Save your money.
- You already have one. Buying +1 is just too much. Buying +2 is crazy.
- If you’re buying one to replace your existing unit, then make sure you giveaway the old or trade it in. You might even get a few extra cash to buy some groceries.
- Don’t buy for technology’s sake. Keep your life simple. If you can, stick to a handful or your older units. If it ain’t broke, keep it.
- Purchase software that you only need. In fact, best to choose those that are cloud-based and are available for subscription. And find something that has multiple licenses, which allows you to extend usage to your family.
- Kill apps you are not using. Limit your social networks. Turn-off notifications, unless you’re in the news business of knowing, 24-7.
- Stop downloading stuff (especially the illegal ones and the bloatware). Try streaming or cloud services. They will provide enough satisfaction if you’re willing to pay monthly fees. And for those who want to know how to tap these services abroad, THERE IS A WAY!
- Technology should not be a crutch. It should not replace analog stuff. Use it wisely. Don’t depend on it. Buy a moleskin notebook for notes. Secure a vinyl record player. Go acoustic. Analog is the new, new thing today.
- Technology should not be the end-all, be-all. Give your brain and body some workout. Go out, run, swim, walk. It still pays to study nature.
- Finally, when you’re in front of people, when eating, or when you’re in a conversation, TURN OFF all screens. Turn it off. It’s rude to be using your phone while you’re with friends and family. In class and in SCHOOL, turn down your laptop, or make that screen sleep. Listen to your teachers. Listen to your colleagues. They will appreciate it. Strike a conversation with your seatmate or, why try knowing your classmates better.
Technology in general should not be a time-suck. It must make us better humans. Think about it. Don’t get to SCREEN BURNED.