The advent of wireless Internet connection has been both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s allowed people the ability to work more efficiently and remain consistently accessible. On the other, it’s allowed people the ability to work too efficiently and remain consistently too accessible. The time when a person could shut off their technology and be left with their thoughts is slowly disappearing.
Currently, airlines are moving quickly to make their flights Wi-Fi friendly. During a six-hour flight, a person use to spend time collecting their thoughts, reading a book or magazine anticipating the plane’s landing in a place far from home. Soon, all flights will be Wi-Fi friendly. In addition, no longer simply a place to relax with a book, Border’s Group Inc. recently announced that by mid October almost all of their more than 500 bookstores will offer free Wi-Fi.
It would be foolish to say that wireless Internet hasn’t had its perks. To have Google, direct access to a personal bank account, driving directions, and social networking at our fingertips is amazing. Technology gives us a sense of security, a feeling that we are never truly isolated.
But in our effort to remain connected, day-to-day communication is starting to hollow. For instance, an email used to be a well-crafted exchange between two individuals. However, with advancements in Wi-Fi connectivity, emails have become broken phrases that quickly answer a question. The question usually results in a quick response, but a message lacking a personal touch. Has communication become more efficient? Yes. In doing so, has it lost substance? Definitely.
Moreover, smart phones have provided the ability to consistently be available to the rest of the world. Blackberry’s and iPhone’s, which seem to be forever clutched in the hands of CSUN students as well as our staff here at the Daily Sundial, don’t allow time to focus on the present, the moment that is passing by while a response to a text message, update of a Twitter page or update of a Facebook status takes precedence.
So, the question becomes, at what point do we disconnect?
Maybe people received a taste of the potential repercussions of not disconnecting with the increase in vehicle accidents due to cell phone use. With laws now in place, it is now an obligation to disconnect during some moments in our life. Still, people begrudgingly put away their phone, even knowing they may be saving a life.
But, ultimately, the decision to disconnect is up to the individual – a decision to put one’s self first. Instead of spending time describing how much fun you’re having at so and so’s party on Facebook, why not just live in that moment?
Make a decision that the next time the phone vibrates or a new message appears on the computer screen to say, I’m not accessible right now and everyone else isn’t accessible to me. Potentially, then, a flight on an airplane will remain the first step in separating oneself from their everyday life and a bookstore will be a place to escape into another world.
With a little indulgence or “me time,” maybe down the road our words, emails and thoughts will continue to mean something.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the Sundial editorial board and are not necessarily those of the journalism department. Other views on the opinion page are those of the individual writer.