A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Connectivity, Part 1
These are my thoughts about the journalists who pander to everything that is new only because it is new. These are writers who devote their lives to selingl the latest digital device and app as an important experience. They should know better, but they do not. Their goal is to perpetuate a hunger for what is new rather than what is meaningful. If that is not pandering, I do not know what is. Keep your eyes wide-open people, the end might not be near but it is closer than you think.
In the age of The Walkman, I was a runner. I did not carry that small machine because I feared that the sound coming through the earplugs would drown out the noises of the street, its oncoming cars, trucks bicycles, women wheeling baby carriages, dogs barking. Reality. Having my ears plugged could have put me at unnecessary risk when I ran my daily three miles through Rockville Centre, N.Y. where I lived.
I no longer run. Instead I walk everywhere in Manhattan where I now live. I do not own an iPod. I keep myself free of ear buds. The sounds of the street are still very important to me. I actually enjoy hearing sirens, cars honking, people talking. My cellphone is so simple that my adult children chide me for not moving into the modern age with a smart phone. My mobile phone can take pictures, but I prefer a real camera. My phone has no access to the Internet. I do not text.
According to a recent Pew Research Center report, “nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smart phone.” And, Pew continues, usage and ownership is ” highest among younger Americans and those with relatively high income and education.” These are those advertisers want for mobile connections and the Internet. Advertisers are doing everything they can to make these devices better to sell products that probably most people don’t want, anyhow.
Here is something else to ponder. By all estimates there are now more than a billion personal computers in the world. According to eMarketer, it expects that “4.55 billion people worldwide will use a cellphone in 2014.” At the end of the first quarter of 2015, the number is surely even bigger. In the next few years we are likely to see another two billion or more people with mobile, pocket computers.
Unlike so many today, I do not download my favorite music onto an iPod. Of that, I am proud. I would rather listen to recorded music full bore on speakers in the privacy of my home. Think, too, that listening to music and voice through ear buds or headphones to give what you believe is the full range of music and sound will in time ruin your hearing, if not fry your brain. Listening to most pop music today is a waste of time, but that is a subject for another day. For now, social networks and the snare they create to capture what remains of the human imagination is the enemy. More to come in Part 2.