It took me a while to catch up with the kids, but I finally did! The mobile phone is now part of my persona.
I remember though, seemingly not all that long ago, thinking deeply about the impact of the mobile phone. I’m not sure about you, but for me it was a worry. I saw society changing – and that worried me. Firm and established social mores were buckling and changing. Why did it worry me so? Well… it was different. Phone calls were suddenly intruding on the peace and serenity of the minute. People could interrupt each other whenever and wherever they felt like it. A conversation over a coffee or lunch was interrupted by a mobile phone. Work conversations with colleagues would become disjointed as a phone call cut into the train of thought. I remember sitting back regarding the idiocy of a group of us chatting around a coffee table with four of the six people at our gathering responding to calls on their mobiles. Was this sheer craziness? What happened to the importance of the social interchanges we had been so conditioned to having? Why was it so urgent all of a sudden to be available any time and any place?
For a very long time, I felt I had no need of a mobile phone. Even if family and friends were equipped with the latest technology, why on earth did I suddenly need to join the crowd? If someone wanted to speak to me they could wait. Why not? They had in the past and all was fine. If there was an urgent need for me to make a phone call, there was always a way. Payphones in communal areas were always on hand and if I was en route somewhere, there were always plenty of phone boxes on the streets that would allow me the convenience of making a call.
The fact that a mobile phone could interrupt the face-to-face conversations I had with family, friends and work colleagues disturbed me. It was out of the ordinary, different, not a ‘normal’ communication. For a very long time I felt very strongly about the whole issue. I often quipped that a study of the impact of the mobile phone on society would make a great research project. It’s heartening that others acted and have completed such research!
So what changed for me? Why did I join the crowd? I must admit ….. there was no lightbulb moment for me. I kind of drifted into it. My first point of interaction was with immediate family. I’d get into it for them, I told myself. Ah ….. then along crept the convenience. And in so doing, I caught up with the fact that societal values do shift and change and that we, members of society, need to adapt and accept change as a part of life.
So why on earth am I rambling on about mobile phones you may ask? What relevance does this have to my new found digital world? It’s simple. The two are analogous. Just as I tried to dig my heels in and see no use for mobile phones in my life, so too did I dig my heels in and see no relevance of exploring the digital world. Stubborn? ….. perhaps. Naive? ….. most certainly!
I’ve discovered so much in such a short time. The depth and breadth of the Internet is only just dawning on me. The immensity of the Blogosphere and the Twitterverse overwhelm me. The benefits of Social Networking astound me. Sometimes, as I while away time into the wee hours of the morning at my PC, I feel like I’ve only tapped a fraction of the vastness that is out there for me to explore.
Once, I’d have thought that I was doing this on my own, isolating myself at my PC. But that’s not the case. Being able to link with others, be it my PLN or strangers I befriend via Ning, Twitter, Diigo, VodPod or indeed other bloggers I meet through my RSS Feeder, continually astound me.
To be able to link across oceans with others and tease out my own thoughts is an opportunity too good to miss. I’m so glad to have thrown off the yolk of ignorance. I look forward to a continued journey of exploration.