Technology: Giving Up… The Tech

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Technology: Our tech guy Colin Moors looks at giving up… the tech.

A difficult assignment from the editor – instead of waxing lyrical about the new toys and latest must-have gadgets, I am to write about giving up tech. All of it. I imagine he would allow me the luxury of a computer on which to write my copy – because he’ll have to learn to decipher my writing, which resembles a doctor’s finest prescription-writing efforts at best.

Why give up tech? Because all the cool kids are doing it. Along with veganism, it’s the latest thing you need to get involved in in order to validate your existence to your social circle. “Oh, Facebook” you’ll say “I read real books” or “A smartphone? What is this, 2010?” Social media can be extremely addictive – even while typing this, I flicked back to Firefox to check there were no urgent posts clamouring for my attention. As luck would have it, someone was wrong about something, so that killed a good 15 minutes. But hey, I don’t need social media, do I? Do I?

We all know that the answer is probably ‘Yes’. Those of us who use Facebook regularly will know there’s nothing like a little red circle with a number in it to pique our interest. Having grown your network of friends, both virtual and real, you’ll be used to getting regular updates when they get a cake with their coffee, win the Nobel Prize for Literature or crack a toenail. As trivial as all this is (come on, who reads Nobel Prize winners?) it doesn’t take long to become addicted to checking what people are up to and you may soon fall foul of an old friend of this regular column – FOMO. Fear of Missing Out is a big draw for people who live life through a virtual lens. I, for one, would have to go back to buying two dozen “Sorry I forgot your birthday” cards at a time, just like the old days. What if one of your friends does something interesting or has a party? How will you know? How could you respond?

The answer is simple. If they do something interesting and it isn’t with you, you’ll have to go back to being blissfully unaware, as we all used to be before the internet became a place to splash your bragging rights across. Did they have a party and not invite you? Perhaps they just don’t like you and are now relieved of the burden of having to conspicuously invite you and hope you don’t turn up. Surprisingly, as strong as the FOMO factor is in having a smartphone, ditching it altogether can create a massive FOMO vacuum in your life, the same as quitting smoking can. Of course, after a month or so, you probably won’t care – if you make it that far. I have lost count of the number of articles I have read saying how the author’s life was changed by quitting social media.Where did I read these? Facebook, YouTube,Blogs…