Column: The Curmudgeon’s Commentary

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Making Time To Unplug

by Stephen Dafoe

Technology is an essential part of the news business today, particularly for those of us who are involved in providing daily online news. There are the interviews to record, the endless emails to answer, the photos to take, the tweets to be tweeted and the Facebook page which must be monitored and updated frequently. Oh, and there is the video footage to be shot, processed and uploaded to YouTube from time to time.

We’re not alone in this, nor are news people alone in our slavish devotion to the iPhone, iPad, and other technological gizmos that have made our lives more efficient and yet deprived us of more and more time as we do more and more work because we can do it so efficiently. It’s common across many professions.

Using technology for work and using technology for leisure is fine. But so are alcohol and chocolate bars when taken in moderation. Sadly, we do not take technology in moderation any longer. Every boop, beep and ding sends us salivating like Pavlov’s dog to see what worthless tidbit of social media can hold our ever-dwindling attention spans for a micro second or two. “Oh, look. Someone has said something snarky on Twitter about the driving habits of Edmontonians. Now what were you saying about your mother’s surgery?”

At times we need to be connected to the great swallower of time and devourer of souls that is the Internet. But there are times we need to unplug; times we need to simply reconnect with one another on that personal level that existed before we all wandered through grocery stores with our cell phones at the ready.

But we have a chance to mend our ways. Family Day weekend is this weekend. What better time to disconnect? What better time to take the tablet and the cell phone and the other things that bing, ping and ring and simply put them away for 24 hours. You can pretend it is practice for the techno-zombie apocalypse.

Monday, Feb. 17 is Family Day. It is also Unplug from Technology Day. We encourage our readers to unplug for a day in support of good old-fashioned conversation and spending time with family.

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