When I think of the word technology, I think of connectivity. Technology connects us in ways that were unimaginable several decades ago. Whether that’s through YouTube connecting people and their laughter, Wikipedia connecting information, or FaceTime connecting people.

What Technology Means to Me

I was born in Romania, in 1996, and technology has had a huge impact on my life. For example: when I was 5-7 years old, my mom and I video chatted my dad, who lived in America. (He went to America by himself first so that he could find a job and save money before bringing us over as well).

What Tech Means to Me

So here I was: 5-7 years old and already connecting through the use of technology. What’s even more interesting is that if I had been born a decade earlier, something such as video chatting would have blown me away in 2001-2003. But I was born in 1996 and that level of technology was simply what I grew up with. It wasn’t amazing in any sorts. It was just simply there for me. 

Computers were a part of everyday life for me. So there wasn’t anything for me to be grateful for (or so I thought). But when I came to America I discovered a pretty cool site through my dad. This site happened to be Google. I was transfixed with the idea that I could search anything up. Mind you I didn’t know any English, but I knew enough to search for anything I could get my hands on. I Googled the text “Gateway” which was on my mouse pad, I Googled “Star Wars,” “Games,” and so forth.

What Technology Means to Me

Disney’s Magic Artist Deluxe

Another program I had access to was Magic Artist Deluxe. I quickly found out that if I used the “lasso” tool to crop out heads and put them on other bodies, I could get really cool results.

So whether I was using Google to search things I didn’t even understand in English, or using Magic Artist Deluxe for “Photoshopping,” I was always teaching myself. That’s what’s pretty cool about technology in 2000-2004. My parents were just as clueless as how to use technology to its full potential, just as much as me, or anyone else was. That’s what gave me a really good head start. The entire world was pretty much at a blank slate with technology, and I was there to fill it up for myself.

Today

Today I appreciate technology much more than I did when I was too young to understand its power. For me, technology is literally the backbone of my life. From the basics that got me start when I was young, to communicating with my dad through video chat, to where I am today.

Right now I’m writing this article on a custom built computer I could only afford because I got a summer job a few years back working with computers. I’m using a 27″ monitor as my main screen, and I could only afford that because of my online freelancing. 

The technology I use today is just as interesting to me as the first iPhone was to everyone around the world. Whereas most people were intrigued by technology such as the iPhone one time, I continue to be intrigued by smart phones, smart devices, and other cool technology.

Behind me, I have a Google TV that doubles as a small computer/internet browser, I can download any book instantly through my Kindle, and I can video chat anyone in the world from my phone.

For me, technology doesn’t just help people around the world connect better, but actually creates those connections from scratch. Whether that’s in an online forum, a blog, or an Xbox video game. You could live in a town with a population of 1,000 people, and still be given the same job/online freelancing opportunities as someone in New York.

The Implications

Although technology makes it easier/faster for us to open up a book, chat with someone in a different country, or learn new things, it doesn’t actually do those things for you. For example: even if you can download an eBook faster than buying a book in a store, you still have to take time to read the book. Even though you can chat someone up in a different country, you’re not any closer to them. Even though you have the resources to learn anything online, you still need to learn it yourself. This is described perfectly by Brett and Kate Mckay on artofmanliness.com:

And so our minds are filled with the vast possibilities the world has to offer, and technology makes us feel that all these possibilities are just within our reach. But the realities of our lives really haven’t changed much. Many aspects of our lives have sped up and become easier, but lots of things haven’t. We can instantly chat with our friend in Argentina, but we’re no closer to instantly teleporting there. Tons of information is available on the web but it still takes just as long as it ever did to read and absorb it. We still need to get jobs and pay rent and work at our relationships.

In the article from which the quote above was pulled, the authors talk about the world in which we live in, and how technology causes so much restlessness in our society. Because we’re constantly bombarded with cool things that people are doing around the world, like partying celebrities, we raise our life’s expectations to the same standards.

It’s like video chatting someone in another country. Just because you can connect with them doesn’t put you any closer to them, which can cause you to become sad or even depressed. That’s why if we start getting drawn into the lives characters live in movies, rappers live in mansions, or celebrities live, then we start experiencing a disconnect in our lives. The solution, as the authors from artofmanliness.com describe, are simple.

We just have to figure out what we want to do, and then chase it. We see expensive cars, expensive trips, and people doing cool stuff in TV shows, magazines, and YouTube videos. But that doesn’t actually meant that we want to do all of those things. As Brett and McKay say in their article: “We’re like a hungry kid window shopping at a candy store. Everything looks so darn enticing but out of reach. And so we feel anxious. We don’t have a net big enough to capture all of these cool possibilities.”

Using Technology

While technology may help connect us, we still have to use it properly. A magnifying glass for example, can focus the sun’s rays into one burning point.

Without a magnifying glass, the sun’s rays would be pretty useless at setting something on fire, but with a bit of focus, the possibilities are endless. The internet, as well as technology, are your sun rays. You are the magnifying glass. How will you focus the internet and technology in your life to the point where you can “burn something?”