The Brain Implant

Sometimes I worry this blog makes me come across as a curmudgeon. Or at least as curmudgeon-esque.

I'm not, really. A curmudgeon, I mean.

I do tend to look at big picture trends, thoughts and concepts. And because I tend to think (and write) about these trends, thoughts and concepts through the prism of the precipice, comparisons are inevitable.

Back at the corporate Taj Mahal today, after a week away. Spent the early part of last week on the job winning friends and influencing people in our nation's capital and the latter part of the week in Kansas City for some much-needed down time with my wife, son and some friends at the Big 12 tournament.

Down time used to mean literal time away from work-related stresses. Technology has darkened that once-bright line into virtual non-existence.

For instance, today I communicate via:

  • Two e-mail accounts (one work-related, one not)
  • One cell phone number
  • One land line at home
  • One land line at the office
  • Facebook
  • Texting through the cell phone number
  • Texting through Google chat
  • A smart phone that allows me to access all these
I don't know what's worse. Taking a few days away from technology altogether and letting the voicemails and e-mails pile up? Or dealing with them surgically, ostensibly while on vacation? I tried that approach last week and still came back to 150 e-mails and a couple dozen voicemails.

Lose-lose.

BTW, is it "e-mail" or "email?"

Jackie can always tell when I'm accessing work e-mails. Two clear signals, she says: Deep sighs and a furrowed brow. Which begs the question: If they cause stress away from work, why bother?

Because of the nature of the work, I'm rarely in the same room as colleagues with whom I need to converse/collaborate/loop in. So we use e-mail. It's great for setting a meeting, but really crappy for communicating a lofty concept or a subtle nuance.

I have friends who swear by the iPad. On the Country Club Plaza last week we saw people literally camped out in line at the Apple store to be the first to purchase the newest iteration. They'll probably be camping out again in six months.

Your relationship with technology tends to mirror your culture.

My father has a cell phone, but only for use "in emergencies." My son long ago eschewed the home-based land line. I'm on the precipice. Somewhere in between.  

Technology is great, but not purely for technology's sake. (Read: I am not a curmudgeon).

I think I'll just hold out for the brain implant.

But I refuse to camp out for it.