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On the Dangers of Being a Technology Whore

digital solutions

The other day my colleague Charlie had his say about developments in technology and their affect on how we live. In a nutshell, he noted that technology brings immense benefits, but he also pondered whether or not we might be losing something as a result. He cited the conceptual Google glasses [1] as an example. Something like this would effectively mean that getting lost is a thing of the past.

Similarly, software like Evernote [2] means that my brain isn’t tasked with as much remembering as it used to be. My typing speed is decent these days, but my penmanship has gone down the crapper. In some Asian countries where calligraphy is more of an art form than elsewhere, there’s concern that students’ writing habits are weakening too.

Amid so many technological advances, we should be aware that there are often corresponding setbacks.

Nevertheless, I try to embrace new technologies as much as I can. It’s not unusual for me to spend hours working on some obscure workflow hack that ironically only saves me a few minutes each time I use it [3]. I’m well aware of this, but it’s more about the challenge of finding the best and most efficient way to solve a problem. For example, I could use a notebook and paper for my Chinese study [4], and it would probably be every bit as useful as a high-tech solution like the Chinese Flash app – but it wouldn’t be quite as fun. The process of finding shortcuts and elegant solutions is a reward that keeps motivation high.

But after years of being a (relatively) early adopter of the latest social site or app du jour, I’m a little more careful about where I place my attentions these days. Time is finite after all, and there should be some return on where I spend it.

Pinterest? Not interested. Instagram? Insta-meh… Byword? Yes, please. P2PU? I’ll take that too.

I should clarify that if I’m going to write about a service, I’ll set aside ample time to test it out. But whether or not it becomes a part of my daily life is an entirely different question.

I think it’s important to be choosy about these things. There is a danger in being a technology whore. I think that ultimately, choosing tools that help you make and do things is a good rule of thumb [5]. Few things are as annoying as ‘social butterflies’ who do, make, or contribute next to nothing.

I expect that since a high portion of our readership is pretty tech savvy (perhaps many are tech entrepreneurs or aspiring to be one) and that you guys know where I’m coming from. I’m curious to hear how you guys approach finding a technological equilibrium that feels healthy. Do feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.


  1. It should be noted that Docomo had a working demo of something like Google glasses a few years back, something that hasn’t been mentioned much in all the headlines that have been circulating this week.  ↩

  2. Who am I kidding, I don’t use Evernote! I use Notational Velocity to archive all my notes.  ↩

  3. As far as my day-to-day blogging goes, it usually involves stuff like this and this. It keeps things interesting.  ↩

  4. When I studied Chinese formally back in 2005, my computer didn’t play a big role in that process. It was mostly me and a notebook, and a whole lot of hanzi.  ↩

  5. FYI, my complete list of tools is here.  ↩


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