livin in a digital world

this semester has been enlightening and sometimes depressing to think about how connected i am to the digital world.

last week i read the no-nonsense guide to digitization and was reminded that the world of digital technology has taken off quickly. look at the world of e-books: what used to be scanned pages of pre-existing hard copies of books became the world of e-readers that are super-slim and available instantaneously. i confess that i really want one of the e-readers so i can avoid having to carry around and transport the bulky, heavy, dusty tomes of earlier generations.

and i am continually being reminded of the way that the digital world is changing how we approach many aspects of life from social skills to education. we still need to know how to communicate, but the rules and expectations are changing. the participation gap is growing as people gain the access and the skills to be able to enter into the digital world, but some find it much easier than others. i compare my parents with my younger sisters who were given computers to use in high school since all of their assignments were to be completed online, and i see the different skills and expectations for what people should learn in school and in life. while previous generations were taught how to figure out something on their own, the younger generations are taught how to use the tools at hand to complete any task.

i like my digital tools, but that probably has something to do with the fact that i have been immersed in them. i had computer classes in elementary school, and i’ve had an email address for 12 years. i got my first digital camera in 2002 and have not gone back to 35mm film, nor do i even print off many of my pictures anymore. i don’t write in a journal very often, but i blog on a regular basis. i don’t write letters (snail-mail) but i email, chat, facebook and text constantly to keep in touch with people.

in many ways, my world is digital.

but that does not mean that my only world is digital.

my appreciation of all things non-digital is aided by the fact that i spend so much time connected to the ever-present, efficient, convenient computer. i have learned to place extra value on the parts of life that cannot be fully captured in the digital world (like going out for coffee with friends, traveling to foreign places, or receiving cards in the mail).

the digital world is my tool for connecting to the physical world.


1 Comment

  1. Zoe Kuester

    I’m intrigued by your comment that “the digital world is my tool for connecting to the physical world. In some ways, that seems like a complete oxymoron–the world of cyberspace is completely virtual! On the other hand, it’s true that digital tools give us immediate access to pictures, to information, to updates on people we care about, to world events.

    At a class the other day, someone talked about “limbic resononance.” It refers to a very primitive function of our brains that “syncs” us when we are all in a group, engaged in some meaningful group activity. It describes a kind of “empathic harmony” of connection. Do you think we will evolve to a place where this happens even when we are connected digitally? Or perhaps this is a necessary element that we can only achieve face to face? I wonder.

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