Sunday, March 08, 2009

Questioning Technology's Value in My Life

What's funny about this is that many people assumed I wanted to stop facebook because of it taking up so much of my life. Actually, I don't spend very much time on it, but my concern, rather, is simply trying to find areas in my life that I can distance myself from technology. The nature of my present job requires that I spend 40 hours a week at the computer. I keep track of my finances using a web tool. I read (actually--scan) many blogs using a reader. I check my email frequently (and now, more than I want, my phone keeps beeping to me that I have a new email [thanks, Maranda!]). And occasionally, I write on my blog. As I was talking with Audrea the other night, we were questioning the real value in much of those activities.

I can't get away from the computer entirely because of my job. The online web tool for my finances saves me incredible amounts of time and assists me greatly in controlling spending and maximizing savings. The email seems to be a necessary evil for communication with school, work, and personal business. Aside from that, everything else could go... and I'm real close to doing that.

When I posted a status that I was considering doing this, some people assumed that it was a self-control/time consumption issue. While that is true for many, for me it's simply a distraction and entertainment source that is not adding much value to my incredibly busy life. Interesting and fun, but not extremely helpful (somewhat, but not incredibly). It seems that several of these things could be eliminated and I wouldn't suffer a bit.

Persuade me otherwise...

3 comments:

Jim Peet said...

I think it is always good to evaluate any activity or methodology - technology included. I'm probably as techie as you are as I work in technology as well.

I have about 5 email addresses (one for work, another for Metro Womens Center, another for commerce, another for family, another for 4th Baptist, etc). I can say that technology enables me to quickly sort and store emails. My work email is the worst ... I definitely need it but the storage is less (hard to believe) than a GMAIL account.

Both Kathee and I use Google docs to share documents. A great way to keep family documents and have both members of marriage aware of all details (eg we store key invoices (like home repair) in PDF format. Better than paper in a file cabinet in my mind!).

We also use technology to track finances. Online Bill pay, MINT, IngDirect, Sharebuilder, etc. I find all of this very valuable.

Facebook is a little iffy for me. All this "be my friend, set your status, pieces of flair, poke, etc." I don't get this. But to use Facebook to schedule an activity (like for our young adult ministry) - very valuable.

Blogging: It's a great way to quickly communicate to a ministry (eg. 4bay.info). Managing blogger comments seem less valuable. My blogger blog gets many weird comments.

The cell phone. Kathee has a Blackberry and loves it. Can conduct business very easily remotely. I refused to get a Blackberry.

Cell phone: I resisted for years but now love it. When we travel we use the cell phone to do call ahead reservations for hotels. Since we don't always know how long we will drive (we never want to stop too early!).

Other cool tech things I appreciate: http://gopingme.com/ , http://www.constantcontact.com/ , http://www.grandcentral.com/, http://www.efax.com/

Take the last one ... EFAX. I only receive about one or 2 dozen faxes a year. Who needs a fax machine. Fax to email. Very cool.

My 2 cents

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By the way .. technology enables ministry to be more efficient. More efficient means a better use of God's money.

My 2 cents

Mr. Harmless said...

I won't try to persuade you otherwise. I believe that finding ways to eliminate technology is a good thing.

Even in teaching, I have tried to find ways to eliminate the technological aspect. It can be great, and such a great tool, but sometimes I just wish I had a textbook and a piece of chalk...

Devin said...

Boy, I wish I could try to persuade you otherwise...but I must admit, there are more days when I feel like Facebook and Blogger (and keeping up with all the people/things that go along with both of those) are more of a chore/time waster.

There are many times when I think, "Maybe I should eliminate this?"

But, I end up just trying to cut back...it is nice to be able to be in touch with friends that I don't see often, and pray for others that I am not near and am not able find things out directly from their mouths.

But, even in that, sometimes I wonder if I am justifying....

:-)

So, there's my say.