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Thursday, March 6, 2014
Sometimes I wonder if I am too plugged in.
Sitting in my apartment right now, I have two computers open – one for personal use and one for writing this column in our fancy content management system. My iPhone routinely needs to be charged once or twice a day. I have three social media websites (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) that I check fairly regularly. I have five email addresses I keep up with (two for work, one for important accounts, one for secondary accounts/potential spam, one for school). When I wake up in the morning, despite working at a newspaper, I log in and read everything online. In fact, I honestly don't know the last time I've read any publication outside of our company.
For reading purposes there are Kindles and Nooks rather than physical paper pages and covers. Instead of an encyclopedia set these days it's all about Wikipedia or Google. I read an interesting article (on LikedIn) that young professionals are having their critical thinking outsourced to Google these days. I hadn't really thought of it, but the more I dwelled on that idea the more I realized how true it was. Personally, I rely on Google as a spell and fact checker on a near daily basis, as I'm sure many others do, as well.
Even when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is roll over to see how many emails piled up overnight. Usually it ranges between 15 on a slow day and 45 or so when I really don't have the time. I won't play the woe is me card on this one, I know others have it far worse.
That said, I remember growing up when my parents would gather around for breakfast and actually read newspapers. I always read the comics, I grew up reading “Garfield.” Part of that was because I was obsessed with cats (which doesn't seem to be that uncommon based on YouTube), but part of it was actually feeling like a grown up. My mom usually flipped through the news pages and the obituaries, my dad grumbled about the Yankee box score and I just amused myself reading about a cat that liked lasagna.
Crazy to think a cartoon cat may have been a driving force somewhere in my subconscious when I was younger. Maybe that's part of the reason I got into journalism. How far we have come is incredible though. The Internet has gone from its earliest stages to luxury item to mainstream to now being something that infrastructure is being laid for. How cool is it that something like Google Fiber exists and is expanding? I would have never guessed when I was first looking for cheat codes for some of my PlayStation 2 games that a movement like Internet.org would exist in my lifetime. All I was concerned about at the time was being 1337 (Internet speak for elite) at Madden by running around as Michael Vick. Yeah, I was that guy that threw to Brian Finneran all the time. My apologies.
Maybe I'm just a huge dork by even thinking about this sort of stuff. I like to think we're all geeks about something or another. I mean, hey, when I took the Strengths Finder test, one of my top answers was futuristic. I guess there was something to that.
I do wonder sometimes what would have happened if I had taken another path; one less stressful, like shark diving or being a window washer on a skyscraper.