CyberserfdomI am travelling this week, teaching in beautiful Wales. I should be enjoying the inspiring sea views and engaging with my brilliant students on their intensive residential marketing course.  But instead I’m thinking about what’s going on back at the office.

How I’m going to keep in touch.

We are all slaves to the technology

I am a slave to technology. A cyberserf.

Emails. Voicemails. Texts.  Messenger. Snapchat. Wireless 3G and 4G. Internet enabled watches.  It’s all supposed to make my life easier, but actually if I’m not careful it can make for a 24 hour constant-contact hell. About half of all Americans check their smartphone several times an hour, and 61% keep it close to them even when they’re sleeping.

We text whilst we’re driving and we’re killing people.

We go out to a restaurant, and we ignore our nearest and dearest because we can’t put our phones down.

We only pay half attention to our kids because we’re busy checking our emails.

And when in a stadium filled with music, we don’t actually watch and engage with the artists, we pay more attention to filming it.

It’s called device creep, and the best article I’ve ever read on the topic of Cyberserfdom was published in the New York Times way back in 2001.

I’ve just had a chance to re-read it, and it still rings true.

But it isn’t all bad… is it?

I reckon technology is a bit like chocolate. On the one hand, it’s addictive, and too much can make you sick.  Once you open up the wrapper you’ll binge on it til it’s gone. And for some creatures, like dogs, it’s toxic.

But chocolate also has health giving properties. It can be inspiring, and make you smarter. It’s comforting.

Ironically, technology can help us take even more  control of our lives rather than make us cyberslaves. Make it easy for us to keep in touch with distant friends, provide a way to meet new lifetime partners, and even keep us fit. A bit.

So, what’s the bottom line?

The answer is easy, really. A bit like when you get a big box of chocolate for your birthday.

It isn’t right for me to react to and be driven by the technology, but rather for the technology to adapt to me, and the way I want to work.


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