In the years leading up to Chimera's birth, Nicole and I watched as digital technology transformed from a mere set of tools into a way of life. When e-mail, instant messaging, texting, and social media came into the picture, we entered the digital world as members of a generation who inherently knew how to use the tools at hand. Technology use is now pervasive, and many children move through the world as primarily digital selves.
But we aren't robots. Rather than countless electrical parts and programs, humans instead house a complex emotional and behavioral system, one characterized by wonder and innocence, but also by wildness and grotesqueness. In our children's book, in our conversations, in our daily life, we continually ask the question:
What happens when a person’s life shifts from the physical real to virtual reality?
Here are 3 respectable ways to fight technology with technology and become a more conscious user:
Select a person from your Contacts list and meet him/her for coffee.
During your conversation, pay attention to the person sitting in front of you, not the one inside the phone. We've all been victims of the Conversation Texter. Many of us have played the role ourselves. After spending five minutes telling you why you should quit your job, the Conversation Texter will wait for your response. But when it comes, when you finally begin to speak, the CT will check their phone for text messages. They might even reply to one. At this point, both parties are no longer interested in the conversation, which was basically dead on arrival, anyway. The great thing about text messages? Most aren't urgent. Devices allow us to communicate with our friends and loved ones, even colleagues and other professionals, but they really don't need much attention. Combat your own CT urges by making consistent eye contact and leaving the phone in your pocket (or in that death-grip you've got) for minutes at a time. The person with whom you're speaking will sincerely appreciate it.
There's no substitute for undivided attention.
Use Google to see how many people have the same phone you do.
Despite what the cool kids told you, fitting in is overrated. In March 2014, at 25 years old, with a special knowledge of Internet marketing, I, Matt Greene, own a flip phone. Is it because I don't know how to use the new tech? Because I don't understand its capabilities? Because I'm trying to be hip, different, unique? Nay, nay, nay. It's about getting what I need from the device. Not what marketers tell me I need. When we launched our new web store, for example, and could use a mobile app to process purchases, we bought an iPhone, thereby increasing payment options for the customers who visit us at art shows.
To figure out what you need, try to go an entire day using your device only for work or emergencies. WARNING: You'll likely feel that you've missed something, that the world has carried on without you. And that's just it – your presence in the digital world is welcomed, but not necessary. In the physical real, however, you are always needed. By your friends, by your colleagues, by your children.
You want to be unique in today's world? Be a good listener.
Take note of how much time your Facebook friends seem to have.
Look at how many photos Sheila posted yesterday. Look at all the fish Dan caught at the lake. Then look in the mirror. Then, if you're not too tired, look at the clock. But don't fret over it. Simply think of the next hour as the rest of your life. As the minutes/years tick by, think about the preciousness of a single second. Think about your technology use, and how much of your time is spent clicking, swiping, and scrolling. Realize that the devices have control. And we gave it to them. So let's take control back. Not by ignoring our devices completely, but rather by being aware of how, and how frequently, we're using them. Think moderation.
This article is the cornerstone of Chimera Creative Works' existence. By building meaningful relationships, being honest, and practicing empathy on a daily basis, we ensure satisfaction from our customers, and from ourselves.