Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Technology overload: People watching in Georgetown.

The other afternoon, I spent a few hours wandering around Georgetown in Washington, DC. My mission: to evaluate just how connected Americans are.

Over the course of 15 minutes I kept record of technology in our outdoor lives.
I kept count of how many iPods and Blackberries I encountered (17). I noted the number of "business deals" occurring in transit over the cellphone (5). I mulled over the people who eat lunch while talking into their bluetooth (3). I felt concern for the teenagers with their phones tethered to their arm, headphones in WHILE touring with their parents (2). And it made me wonder, is it necessary to be this connected? Is it necessary to walk around absorbed in technology, tuned out from your surroundings and fellow travelers...Technology Loss.

I would argue not at all. There's no reason to be like this; people have survived for decades without cell phones. My mom still survives without a cell phone . To prove my point, for exactly two hours in the middle of the work day, I didn't check my phone, send an email or answer a text. That is until a lost jogger asked for directions to his hotel. He was a good 10 miles from his destination. And so, with only the options of being a good Samaritan or a rude American, I succumbed to the phone in my bag and mapped a running route back to his hotel for him... Technology Win.

I really wanted to take pictures of this experience, but the guilt of judging America's tech-obsessed got the best of me. Plus by taking their picture with my phone, I was submitting to the same behavior that I was trying to break.

So, instead I took pictures of beautiful natural Georgetown. Unlike the guy who was jogging with his dog in one hand, and his phone pressed to his ear in the other hand, nature makes me feel calm and disconnected. After two hours of judging people, it was time to stop and smell the roses...

No comments:

Post a Comment