During the day, it is extremely rare for me not to be using technology in some form. I spend approximately ten hours a day on my laptop alone. I may be doing work, taking notes in class, reading an article or book, watching a movie or sporting event, checking social media, or playing a game.
Although these categories don’t share equal portions of my time, they collectively take up most of it.
In elementary school, most of my time with technology was spent playing video games. Obviously, the amount of work performed by an eight-year-old is minimal, and I wasn’t aware that I could use technology to read or connect with friends. In middle school, I split time between doing work and playing games. Not much changed in my understand of technology.
The difference was due to a change in workload. In high school, the amount of time that I spent doing work began to surpass the time I spent playing games. Much like the transition from elementary school to middle school, the change was not due to understanding but workload.
The biggest change occurred during my transition from high school to college. I currently spend most of my time with technology doing work, reading, or taking notes on my computer. Also, I now almost exclusively watch television from my computer or phone. In contrast to my previous transitions, the primary factor for my increase in usage of technology was understanding. I am embarrassed to admit that before college I was oblivious to the fact that I could use my computer to take notes, read books, or watch satellite television. As soon as I learned that I could consolidate my life into my computer, I did. By combining many of the aspects of my life I’ve been able to save paper, money, time, and book bag space.
I have since developed an even greater understanding of what is possible through technology, and this knowledge has led to more consolidation and increased efficiency in daily tasks.
The one technological aspect that I am less involved in now than I was before college is social media. I have only posted a handful of times on any platform since starting college. I check Snapchat about once a week, and I only use Facebook to message people occasionally. In the realm of social media, I frequently feel like the ‘old grandpa.’ This lack of understanding is pointed out by my younger siblings regularly as they openly mock me for not understanding their allusions. While I was in high school, I used social media often to stay in touch with friends and pass the time. Now, I live with most of my friends and have almost no free time. If I were to guess, this difference largely accounts for the discrepancy in my social media use from high school to college. The other factor involved in diminishing my social media usage is the fear of appearing unprofessional.
So much of collegiate life revolves around cultivating an image that portrays oneself in the best light possible, and it is common to see friends and family ruining their reputations by posting recklessly online. Although I am confident that I could control my social media interactions, it sometimes seems safer to just totally avoid the scene.
Comparing the technologies that I use now against the technologies that I used before college raises an interesting question: What is the driving force in my technological growth? When I think back over the last four to five years, the answer is obvious, necessity. I have consistently progressed in my technological understanding and usage exactly when it was needed. This method of progression has worked great for me thus far and allowed me to be in a constant state of improvement. However, it means that I am probably not advancing as quickly as I could. If I look for the technological areas in which I am weak in along with the areas of my life that need assistance, I might be able to find an entire set of technologies I had not before considered.
For example, I have long considered myself to be an ineffective user of social media, and I don’t currently consider social media to be essential to my professional or personal development. However, if I make an effort to become engaged in at least one social media platform, I might find an unanticipated benefit or simply enjoyment. The greatest aspect of new media is that even if I don’t know where to look, I’m likely to find something of interest.