Try to remember time before the Internet. It may seem like a lifetime, but it was not all that long ago. For me, it was 20 years ago and I was starting a new job as an editor at a magazine publisher. I had a computer on my desk but it had no modem so I had to sign in to a shared computer to access the World Wide Web.
One of the first sites I ever visited (via a pitifully slow dial-up connection) was an obscure upstart called Amazon.com. As the book editor, I was tasked with looking up titles on what was then exclusively a book site billed as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore.” Needless to say, Amazon has become so much more in the meantime.
As hard as it is to believe today, Microsoft was combating antitrust issues with the federal government, Apple was struggling to survive with its returning leader named Steve Jobs, and Google did not even exist yet, let alone Facebook and Twitter. Email was a novelty and texts were nonexistent, as were smartphones and tablets.
Suffice it to say, in the span of one generation life as we know it has radically changed. The overall changes wrought by our innovations have been positive, but it is important to think about our relationship with technology moving forward. In order to optimize its capabilities, we must be intentional about our use of it.
For example, most of the electronic devices I own are made by Apple, including a laptop, smartphone, tablet, and music player, in addition to an e-reader and digital camera not made by Apple. Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly helpful to choose which ecosystem to operate within, i.e. Mac versus PC computers and Apple versus Android smartphones.
With Apple making its own hardware and software for both types of devices (resulting in very user-friendly products), it has been worth paying a premium for them in my experience. And truth be told, I could simplify my cache of devices to a laptop and smartphone. Like it or not, part of simplifying our lives involves thinking about these types of issues. How are you coping?