There are so many things happening in our world that I don’t know where to start.
So, I’ll start with locking my keys in the car at Walmart earlier this week.
I can’t even remember the last time I locked my keys in the car.
But I can definitely remember that I’ve never before crawled through the trunk and into the back seat to reach the rear-door latch.
(Fortunately, I’d popped the trunk hatch to load groceries before tossing my keys onto the floorboard and locking the door behind me).
Actually, none of that was a big deal.
I’m a pretty patient person and not easily frazzled, but I did think it was an interesting statement of our current times that no one walking by even batted an eye.
Well, since my head was in the trunk, none that I was aware of.
In the more-normal-days-of-the-past, I might’ve gotten a “Lady, are you okay?” or “Do you need some help?” or “Is that really your car?”
Between everyone minding their own business behind their masks and being preoccupied with their own stuff, I guess it’s now completely normal to see someone’s feet sticking out of a trunk in the middle of the Walmart parking lot.
Good to know.
The power of Big Tech
And then there was the seemingly-overnight shift in power by Big Tech and others to put a major squeeze on conservative voices that had a Carpenters’ tune running through my head: “We’ve only just begun…”
Those dynamics have caused me to take a major pause in terms of my reliance on the current state of technology offerings.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with technology itself, because it offers many benefits and can do a lot of good.
However, the negative stuff on social media and the ability for a few tech giants to take down a major conservative platform within a matter of days clarified my need to reduce my dependence on providers who may not agree with my Christian messaging (which means I’d love to see more technology providers—especially hosting infrastructure platforms—who do!).
Because I’m certainly not going to stop sharing the good news of Jesus—but it’s pretty clear that if the platforms I rely on to do that decide against permitting me to do so, that may find a way to do exactly that.
Plus, I’ve been getting increasingly aggravated by the intrusion of continual connectedness.
When technology takes over
For Christmas, I got a new pair of Bluetooth earbuds to use when I exercise and for video calls for work.
And twice, when I’ve picked them up to pop them in, Siri (which I thought was turned off) has somehow interpreted the generated noise as a request to dial someone on my business contact list with a name that’s difficult to pronounce and with whom I haven’t spoken in years.
Then there are the Windows updates on my PC.
I can’t tell you how aggravating it is to have specifically left work open to return to at a later point, only to find out that my computer has been shut down as part of the automatic update process (and I have absolutely no idea what’s being added to my computer as part of the process).
Or that I have to jump through the hoops of setting up my smartphone again because an update automatically installed overnight (again, I have no idea what’s being changed).
Now, I know there are continually evolving security risks and that those updates are necessary to address them.
But the connected nature of things is increasingly feeling like an invasion of my privacy and loss of control.
And I really like my privacy.
Plus, I’m not keen on giving up control unless it’s to God or to a person I specifically trust.
Reducing tech reliance
So, I started disconnecting from the internet by turning off the WiFi on my devices when I’m not using them.
And I’m evaluating my workflows to see what tech dependence I can eliminate in a new determination to return to a simpler way of life.
Which means that I recently deleted two of my favorite writing and productivity apps from my phone (painful).
And I’m using paper-based (yes, you read that right) processes as much as possible to gain more control of my privacy and to reduce my reliance on technology tools.
No, it won’t be the most efficient way of doing things.
Nor the most convenient.
But both of those benefits are a trap of technology, since Big Tech is counting on the fact that we can’t live without them.
However, I know people who live quite happily—and more peacefully—without any internet access at all.
They use paper calendars, lick stamps and envelopes to pay their bills, and know how to balance their checkbooks with a monthly statement that arrives in an actual mailbox that creaks when you open the door.
And to visit with those they love, they write a letter or pick up the phone to call or text.
Now, I certainly don’t plan to eliminate internet access.
After all, I make a living online (often writing about technology, in fact); there are many benefits to being intermittently connected; and that’s how I get to engage with you.
But one thing’s for sure.
When my current smartphone needs to be replaced, I’ll be considering a simple flip phone, instead.
This post is adapted from Sue’s Perspectives column in the latest edition of The Empowered Traveler™ Newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can do that here: Subscribe to Sue’s newsletter.