I have become surrounded by two flanking maneuvers –
One side is deep into unplugging and they are quickly growing a bandwagon, backed up by streaming, trending articles, science on our sociology and the ills of the modern world – and what electronics ‘do to us’ that is harmful –
Much like the ‘drink more water’ bandwagon followers, what..hm…about a year ago? The Unplug folks are certain that if one disconnects from newsfeeds, social media, computer and TV that life will be blissful –
I cannot disagree – sure, life is really grand when you can lock yourself away on the edge of mountain and meditate/pray for peace all day – at some point, either you get hungry OR you have someone who brings you water and food – at which point, your whole “I’ve found peace’ thread loses points with me – sure, If I had nothing to do but sit around in silence thinking deep thoughts and not interrupted with pesky things like eating, drinking or keeping warm, or voting to stave of dictatorship that would force me into slavery worse than I already am, I think unplugging and thinking happy thoughts, being a hermit and puttering around nature or sitting still in it would be grand – most folks don’t get that kind of life OR are willing to die of thirst/hunger in order to live it – so there ya go – pointless advice for working class, raising children or taking care of their families.
Embrace the 21st Century and Productivity!
The second flank that is hemming me in on the opposite side is the folks who have drunk the Kool-Aid and believe technology is the answer to all ills.
If you question it, you’re backward – if you dare say, “ummm…this isn’t working as you advertised…” you are simply asked to upgrade to the next level of service, and when that doesn’t solve the problem, you are asked to do their trouble shooting, on their product, for them, for free –
Who needs to hire customer service and R&D folks when we customers are doing the work for them, for free, in attempts to get customer support?
I confess that most of the tools I look at for my biz are long on promise short on delivery –
I also confess that I often wake up, mid-week or later, every week and think – “Ya know? I think I’m having an unplug day” –
Not that I really unplug – I respond to client emails, calls, texts, but I do so from my phone – I acknowledge I have received –
IF time sensitive, I walk to my ‘office’ and do – if Not, I may not even answer, but decide to do late tonight or early tomorrow morning – who cares? Still less than 24 hours turn around which is more than I can say for many of the customer support/tech support options I deal with EVERY, FRICKIN’ DAY I WORK!
Somewhere, somehow, there must be a happy middle that allows a small biz opportunity
Just saying – as one of my fave ‘biz’ blogs states (she offers classes I cannot afford, enjoy reading some, if not all her marketing emails, anyhoo) she long ago said, and often repeats – “You don’t have to invent the mousetrap, just make it better – opportunities to make an offering better, abound – Just do it “
She has her own phrase for “Just Do It” – lest you try to report her for stealing another’s ad campaign – her phrase is “JFS” which is polite acronym for Just Fucking Ship!”
Okay – now you get why I like her – I enjoy cussing, raw, people who cut through the cutesy, positive, useless biz informercials that inundate online world – for marketing everything from your carefully written novel to your pet grooming service or reselling crapola no one really needs on amazon or ebay –
See? I have an online life – I read a lot out there – I just tend to laugh and make fun of a lot of it –
Reminds me of a Tom T. Hall song – I don’t have a thing for older women or whiskey, but faster horses sounds good – – 🙂
That all said –
It is disheartening to me to see the internet go the way of telephones and radio did a century ago – As in – it’s growing, security scares make headlines, and, everyone who can is out building their cyber empire – I believe, cyberland, is where World War III is already happening – it just hasn’t truly made the news as such, yet –
And I’m left with the realization, I’m probably not good enough or smart enough to be a general, not willing to die on this battlefield as a foot soldier, but not willing to be an objector and just throw my computer out the window and go putter in the blissful days of garden, kitchen, experimental station on preservation, home hooch/wine making, etc….
Not just yet – – but I’m getting closer – though I would so miss visiting with those bloggy pals here that I will, most likely, never have the chance to travel to their neck of the woods and actually putter in their kitchen while we drink, visit and fix a meal to share –
I realize that while many in my neck of the woods think what folks pay to get a basic website built by the ‘big boys’ in urban corridor to the west is highway robbery, and yet, they can’t quite walk through making their free or $2.99/month website do what they want it to – neither do they value what I do, have done, continue to learn more, in order to do more –
It’s not truly valued, although they often come to me with
We Need a Website! We Have to Have One!
And I always ask questions to determine do they NEED a website, or just an online presence?
AND, if yes, they need a website, then I want to know,
How does your website earn it’s keep?
Funny how many are stymied by that question – a website is an investment – no two ways about it – it costs time, money or both –
So, how does it earn it’s keep?
Does it inform, educate, raise donations/make sales, explain a little known industry to folks who need such services but didn’t think such services existed?
Does it display required public documents so one doesn’t get hit with fines and penalties for failing to follow regulations for ones’ industry?
It either saves time of staff, money for the company and/or it pre-sells to customers or makes sales to customers, while staff sleep –
Easy, in my mind, to know how one’s website earns it’s keep –
Not so easy for clients to answer –
They do answer – eventually – always –
Sometimes, they just don’t know they finally told me how they expect their website to earn it’s keep…..but usually, it comes out in conversation – when I listen or read emails and learn – sometimes, about 1/2 way through the project – it’s a learning process –
As you can tell, I’m deep into “Plugged Into” world –
I know it, you know it – else I wouldn’t talk about websites and blogs and online presences, etc., so much –
On the other hand – does cyberland have value, to you, if you’re not the front man for a wealthy Nigerian Prince in search of money laundering services?
Obviously, it still does for the Nigerian Prince, he’s just a non-profit who helps veterans now – and asks for a donation – or your credit card number
Or he is a hero that’s found out your identity/computer has been hacked and he can save the day for just $99 if you just click on that little button in the email…
See? And these are just the brash forays on the front of WW III –
The more subtle ones are the thousand and one offerings when you hear “There’s an App for that” tune –
And as I watch and at accelerated pace that has sped up this past year – yes, there is an app for that – none of them are free –
You’ll pay with your information, your marketing to/consumer worth (marketing/ads attention) your time and/or your money –
There is no free internet, not really –
And so, the great liberator, the great marvel of our time (remember the telephone, telegraph, radio?) which started out as free, isn’t and it’s being slowly taken over by ‘small charges’ for this, that and the other –
Thus, you must earn $ to access, use, etc.
Take on a second job if you must – the great cyberland beast must be fed….
I do not begrudge…
Those who have worked so long and so tirelessly to provide ‘free’ versions, making their weekly wages or cashing in on years of work –
Nope, I just see more and more customer UIs popping up for services paid for – where there exists no phone number or storefront to go visit – if you are dissatisfied or need support, you simply must email/submit request and then hope you can carve out the time to be on hand 3 days later when they decide your ‘appointment’ slot came up today in the ‘which customer shall we deal with today’ lottery –
Rather like waiting for the cable TV guy to show up in the 4 hour window you were scheduled for, right?
Only to get a call about 10 minutes before you are due back to work, that says “He’s on his way – running about 30 minutes late –
And woe to you if you say, “I have to go back to work, else I’ll lose my job – I took a 1/2 day without pay to wait here for him to arrive” – and be told,
“If you are not there, we will have to reschedule your appointment and you will be moved down the list for failure to keep an appointment”
Oh yes it does – we’ve all been playing this latest game round for years – with doctors, then service repairpersons who are ‘strategically routed through a regional office to give you the best, “just in time” service (you can thank early versions of AI attempts for this – it’s merely database building and elaborate queries and run operations – but where do you think they started in testing out AI – does it learn? really? Or is it just following all the long list of rules stupid humans wrote – the same *ahem* humans who can’t schedule a service call and have it actually happen within a 4-hour window even with 6-weeks notice?
I’m in a place of ‘not congruent’ –
I play in cyberland, fight in cyberland, understand bigger things than even I can fully grasp are happening in cyberland – and yet….
If I could learn to live off sunshine and air and not be derelict in my duties, I would simply take hours to wash my clothes by hand and wring them out – because, I’ve read all the books in my house, the local library is now closed cuz those who love cyberland aren’t sure why libraries are even needed anymore, and what to do with all the free time I now have?
Folks used to drop by to visit, they don’t anymore –
And so, either I’ve become awful or no one needs me as bad as they think, if they have to stop by, instead of just calling, texting or emailing –
That said, it occurred to me that despite my routine calls to folks, just to ‘chat and catch up’ no one ever calls me unless they need something from me –
Sad, but true – and so, since I’m already on my way out of ‘human circle of connection’ given I’m only sought when work needs done, not for just chatting or what have ya – I guess, maybe, as soon as I learn to live off sunshine and air, I’ll unplug, completely and forever – 😀
Ahhh..what a dream that would be…. 🙂