Living Simply Saturday: Escaping the Technology Trap

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I have a confession to make.

I hate Facebook. And I don’t Twitter. I’m not on MySpace. I don’t do Delicious or Digg or Stumble.

Why, you ask? Because for me, these types of social networking and bookmarking only seem to add more clutter, busyness and obligation to my already very full little world.

I’m not sure about you, but I find it enough to simply keep up with my email! I do write my blog, and I do have a select group of blogs that I enjoy reading a couple times a week, but I keep it pretty minimal and skip it if I don’t have time. I don’t generally get on the web just to surf, although I have been known to get a bit distracted from time to time and find yummy food blogs or gardening sites or online deals.

I don’t own a cell phone. I do, however, own a pink iPod Nano that my sweet husband bought me so that I could listen to sermon mp3’s and worship music when I’m out. I still prefer using a desktop over a laptop (but maybe it’s because I’m just so sold on my Mac, rather than my hubby’s PC?).

We don’t care about having cable tv, but we do enjoy watching DVDs and videos sometimes. Even though I know they’re not the best, I haven’t been too concerned yet about getting rid of our cordless phones because I find them so convenient. I still prefer pen and paper over typing at the computer for notes, brainstorming, etc. but when it comes to writing my ebook, working on a blog post or fleshing out a larger article or paper, nothing beats typing a mile a minute and using that blessed invention we call spell check.

Why share all of this?

Because this week’s chapter focused on the ways that we use, abuse and let life get cluttered up by technology (I’d give you a great quote from the chapter, but my 1 year old just knocked my copy of From Clutter to Clarity
behind the bed frame and I’m not quite sure how to get it out without moving the entire queen sized bed!).

The gist of the chapter was not telling us that technology is bad (a thought which I have a tendency to move towards, as I begin to long for the pioneering days of Ma Ingalls). My husband and I often get into the discussion over whether technology is really a harmful thing (my argument) or whether it is just the ways that we choose to use it (I have a feeling his is the wiser, more balanced answer).

Last year, I read the book Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology. I was really challenged by the author’s experiment in living for over a year without the use of modern technology. At many times throughout the book, I felt so aware of the ways in which technology has negatively impacted us, and yet also so grateful for some of the technology that I use every day (running water, washing machines, cars!). The author’s conclusion, though he chose to live with much less modern technology than most of us do, was that it’s a matter of assessing both the benefits and drawbacks of what we choose to use, and ultimately, opting to use those tools which truly better our lives, which will look different for everyone.

All of my above ramblings were simply to share some of the technology that I have chosen to use, and also to forgo (and I’m certainly not the example- there are still areas that I would like to evaluate further). It isn’t about whether Facebook is good or bad, whether we’d be lost without our cell phones (or iPods in my husband’s case) or whether we use an outdoor drying line or can’t imagine life without our dishwasher. I think it comes down to honestly evaluating our use of technology and whether it genuinely adds to our life and helps us to accomplish those things that are most important, or actually weighs us down and adds further clutter to already busy and hectic lives.

How do you feel about the use of technology? What does it look like in your life? Do you tend to embrace it or avoid it, and why?

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  1. I don’t facebook, twitter or my space. I’m perfectly content with my little blog and a few good blogs to read. I have a cell phone but more times than not, it is needing recharging.

  2. Amen, sister! I hate Facebook and I don’t Twitter, either. Never been on my space. I have always regarded that stuff as clutter!

  3. I use Google Reader to help manage my blog reading. I can sit down and read 30 posts in just a few minutes because I scan quickly then “star” or “share” the ones I want to come back to when I have time. Once a month I go through the blogs I subscribe to and eliminate the ones I don’t enjoy anymore. I just added a few for preschool activities, and unsubscribed to a few frugal sites that all seemed to post on similar topics.

  4. Oh Stephanie, this is something that has been tugging at my heart lately. Sometimes I feel like this computer can take over my day! I read the Better Off book as well and loved it! I thought it was so fascinating. I’ve had several encounters with Amish families, been in their homes, seen how they live. And even though I don’t fully agree with everything, I have to admit, I feel a desire to become less techi-savvy rather than more. This post was very timely for me. It’s really something I’ve got to pray over! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Love this, living simply saturday!

    I agree with you. So far I’ve held off – but goodness it’s tempting! Esp. all the stuff I just learned at Blissdom 09 conference!

    Great post. I appreciate it.

  6. LOL I don’t even know what a few of those things are…twitter for one. I don’t use facebook or myspace or anything like that either. I simply can’t justify spending that much time doing something and it also doesn’t interest me much (I am also fairly private that way…I don’t even have a blog). I only read this blog regulary (don’t you feel special :)) and a few others from dear friends that I like to catch up with that way. We don’t have cable or a cell phone either.

    Recently we were given a TV for videos that a friend didn’t want, but you know what it became a real issue for me (and for my daughter) that we put it away and are deciding whether to get rid of it altogether. Its hard to even find a decent movie anyways.

    I tend to avoid technology to a fair degree. In fact, I avoided the internet for a long time other than email, but once I became a mom, I felt a need to connect with like-minded moms since I don’t know many in real life. I avoid it mostly because I find it can be a time waster for me and in the case of movies and such can be hard not to make compromises. In the case of something like my new dishwasher though I am glad for technology since it allows me to spend more time with my family now (time not at the sink quite as much!) which in my mind is a good use of it.

    Sometimes I also want to retreat away to a place without technology. I used to love days long hiking trips before having kids. 🙂

  7. Great post! I have mixed feelings about most of this technology. Just like anything, these advancements are good in moderation. I know that when we go out of town and I don’t have access to a computer for a few days it feels good – I might feel a bit ‘out of the loop’ but in a good way. I try to stay off the computer during the weekends for a break. I don’t use my cell phone too much & I feel sorry for the person who leaves me a message on it – it could be weeks before I even know it’s there. 🙂 I do like to email pictures – it’s quick and easy and a nice way to keep friends and family up to date.

  8. This is a great post Stephanie! I too am conflicted about technology and convenience items.

    I have always dreamed of living in a home like that of Ma Ingalls, but mine always has a dishwasher and one of those super fancy six burner stainless steel range tops. I guess I am full of contradictions.

    My current goal is to get rid of the television. I find I waste so much time when it is on. My husband however, loves to have it on in the background for noise. It will be interesting to see how we can compromise! (If it were up to me, we wouldn’t have a TV at all.)

    Thanks for getting me to think about this topic again. I also read Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology last summer and found it extremely interesting and compelling. It is on my list of books to read again.

  9. I work in the IT field. I find the internet as a whole completely facinating. It’s like having a gigantic library of information at your fingertips. Any question you have, any research you might want to do is right there, waiting to be found.

    But all the software, hardware, technical issues that can arise drive me insane and I have to say some days I just HATE technology.

    It makes me want to move to my cottage and live offgrid forever.

  10. I love facebook, and find that my relationships have been enriched because of it. I think it’s about finding and setting limits and boundaries to anything–whether blogging or facebooking.

  11. Yes, definitely, Mrs. Taft! I’m glad to hear that someone loves Facebook and finds it beneficial! 🙂 I’m all for whatever actually works for us and enriches our lives, and that looks so different for everyone, doesn’t it?

  12. Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

    Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

    20 Mule Team Borax

    Distilled White Vinegar

    Here’s what you do

    Step 1: Add one tablespoon of Super Washing Soda to the dishwasher dispenser
    Step 2: Add one tablespoon of 20 Mule Team Borax to the dishwasher dispenser

    That’s the recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent. Easy as can be!

    Now the recipe for removing the water spots that so frequently occur with automatic dishwashers:

    Pour distilled white vinegar into the dispenser for the clear rinse gel.
    Once you’ve run your dishwasher, be sure to hold your glasses up to the light and inspect them thoroughly. You’ll find that the homemade detergent cleans as well if not better than the store bought detergent.
    Labels: Frugal Homemade Cleaners

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