Truth, Liberty & The Pursuit of Free WiFi

The need for free wifi is becoming abundantly clear. We live in a world where when I go out to eat with my son, the first few sentences out of his mouth are . . .

“Hello. May I have a Sprite? What’s your wifi password?”

In this world, technology is so integrated a six year old thinks wifi exists everywhere- and much to my dismay it practically does. America, the land of truth, liberty and the pursuit of free wifi. Where one can go out into Yosemite National Park to witness the majesty and guess what – there’s wifi and cellphone signal both available in the park. Where the concept of a coffee shop without wifi is blasphemy.

We, as a culture, make consistent jokes about how glued we are to technology, our cellphones in particular. There are warning on geocache games reminding us to pay attention to the real world.  We regularly see people out with one another, yet they are not speaking to each other. They are each in their own cellphone bubble – Snapchatting someone far away, texting their significant other, or looking at breaking news (or memes), sometimes simultaneously. There are shows that detail the horrors of technology going too far or horribly awry (Black Mirror anyone?). But do we stop ourselves? How often do you go out sans a cellphone? How often do you disconnect?

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One of the ‘buzzwords’ of my generation is “authenticity.” We want an ‘authentic’ existence, an  ‘authentic’ experience [so we can then document it for various social media platforms and everyone else can see how real our lives are]. So I ask, at what point are we living our lives for our true selves instead of keeping up with the digital jones’? Studies have long proven that after looking at various social media platforms that we (the digital interloper) are less happy, less self secure and feel more self conscious and isolated. However, we rarely go more than a few days without interacting with one social media platform or another.

I am by no means an innocent bystander to this cultural technology addiction.

The first thing I do in the morning is turn off the alarm application on my phone as it rudely interrupts my much too short slumber. I put on music which streams via bluetooth from my phone to my Sony portable speakers. I get in the shower, wash the sleep off as I sing off key to the song of the day. The alarm for my automatic drip coffee begins on auto-start as I exit the shower. Another alarm from my Google calendar chimes. Informing me that I have my first appointment in an hour and fifteen minutes time. Shortly after, I receive email notifications on my laptop and tablet letting me know a client is running a few minutes late and that my brother in law’s birthday party is this weekend. My phone dings with a dropbox notification, I’ve received my photos edited from my latest adventure.

I have been awake for less than an hour and have already interacted with five different devices. Not to mention interaction with a handful of apps. I’ve probably posted on a social media platform,too. All engineered to make my life easier, more accessible and slightly more organized.

Technology has slowly and nigh seamlessly integrated into our daily lives.

I shudder to imagine leaving the house without my cell phone or my son’s beloved tablet (link here). I am utterly technology dependent. Sure, without my cellphone I could survive. I would revert back to using an alarm clock, and a land line. Without my emails, I could perhaps gain patience and take up writing letters. But in today’s fast paced society, I don’t wish to imagine it. As we become more dependent upon technology, I challenge you to pause and ask yourself- Are we losing the ‘human touch?’ Are we withdrawing from reality into a digital reality of our own making? Did you choose to go through self check out today to avoid small talk with the cashier? Did you order your lunch online as opposed to calling it in? I’ll be honest, I know I did.

Now where is that wifi password . . .

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