I’m not sure where I sit in the whole digital native / digital immigrant scheme of things. I am old enough to remember my parents having a serious discussion about betamax and VHS video. And when the VHS arrived (my father would point to his prescience) it was linked to a ‘remote’ control by an eight foot lead. I also grew up with a 48k ZX spectrum, later upgraded to the 128k with built in cassette deck (!), and spent many happy hours listening to the high-pitched screech and whine of ‘Jet Set Willy’ loading up.
Does this make me a digital native, or an immigrant? Am I of a strange generation which could go either way? What worries me is not that future generations will be different (it was ever thus), but that I myself am changing. I’m sure I used to be able to concentrate for longer, I used to get more done….
I’ve spent the afternoon re-joining twitter and beggering about with it to get it synched up to various other blogs, feeds and whatever else. Why? I’m not exactly sure. I have a feeling I’m missing out on something but the constant drip-drip-drip of information might not be what I need. So I thought I might jot down a few ideas about unplugging…
Turn off your wireless connection.
I used to type my essays with an electric typewriter. If I hadn’t been such a lousy typist and hadn’t spent so long waiting for tippex to dry, I would have stuck with it. The temptation to play urban dead when I turn on my computer is almost overwhelming. But whelm it I must….
Listen to records.
I didn’t even have to dust off the record player – it’s never been out of service. CD’s started the problem of the twitchy finger, mp3′s made it worse… now I struggle to listen to a whole song. But put on an LP and sit in a comfy chair and listen to the entire album, getting up once to turn it over and you will have time to absorb some of the things you’ve been cramming into your head.
The ones made of paper.
Leave your phone behind.
Sometimes it happens by accident, and for the first half an hour it’s terrifying. But then, nothing much. I even know people without a phone, but that’s taking it a bit far.
Get a clockwork alarm clock with brass clappers.
Because using your phone as an alarm clock leads to all kinds of midnight mischief. You wake up in the night and take a quick peek to see what time it is and before you know it you are checking the football results.
Drink more tea.
I know it’s full of caffeine, but it still seems more civilised than coffee. Especially if you sit down and drink it whilst looking out of the window, reading the paper or doing a crossword.
There is more to know now than at any point in history. Tomorrow, there will be even more. Don’t even think about next week. Do we really need to know all of it? I’m sure I’ll be playing with my phone on the train to work tomorrow, checking tweets. I might even learn something useful. But I’m not putting away my record player just yet.