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#WEverb11 – December 20th

Plug In/Unplug.

How has technology affected your life (positively or negatively) in 2011? Do you want this to continue for 2012?

2011 was an interesting year, technology-wise. My awful years-old LG slide phone broke, quite literally, the minute we landed in Ottawa for Christmas holidays last year. By the time we got home, it was basically a paperweight — that is, a paperweight I was contracted into paying $100+ for each month.

I canceled and paid out my contract with Bell, which was a relief as they don’t have coverage in our area so I was paying that much money for a BC phone number and a plan that meant I had to pay long distance to dial my own voicemail. I was cell phone free all winter. It bothered me sometimes, like when I drove out to Dryden and had no way of telling Matt when I’d be home, or when I was driving in the dark and snow by myself. In other ways it was fantastic to not have a cell, because I wasn’t tethered to a device that meant everyone and anyone could intrude on my life. No more texts, no calls, no emails unless I was sitting by our landline (yes, we have a landline!) or in front of a computer.

All that changed when I bought my iPhone in spring. The positives first — I can (and often do) look up any questions I have, immediately. No more ‘what was that guy’s name?’ or ‘where is that building?’ questions keeping me up at night! I have been able to track data, cook new things, lose weight, take countless images and route my way across the country with that phone. I’d be hard pressed to live without it. The negatives? Once again I’m at the whim of texts and phone calls. I know I could ignore messages that are untimely but I feel obligated to respond, for some reason. People generally know that I’m a phone call or text message away, and I’d honestly prefer, sometimes, to be a little less linked in.

For 2012, I’d like to exercise my ability to put the phone down and pay more attention to what’s happening in front of me. I’ve started making an effort to not pick up my phone when we’re out at meals, and I need to start leaving it alone at parties and in other social situations. Matt and I often find ourselves sitting on opposite couches, me on my iPhone and him on his iPod. It’s easy to get sucked into the internet when it’s in the palm of your hand!

I’d also like to use technology in a positive way in 2012, by keeping in better contact with far-flung friends and family. I spoke with my sister and my niece on Skype one time and it was hilarious seeing Ophelia try to figure out how, exactly, I was in the computer. Matt’s niece, Lily, was also a joy to talk to over Skype when we called for her birthday. I have friends whose lives I only really keep up on because of Facebook, but I’d like to make more of an effort to email, text, speak with and otherwise be in contact with those people.

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