The Lapsed Luddite: An Ongoing Series
Confession: I am a lapsed Luddite. I would never use a word like reformed or recovered. Just lapsed.
Two hundred years after the Luddite uprisings, I think holding on to a healthy dose of fear in technology is still a good thing. Electronic life is everywhere, and now it’s so much a part of our day-to-day existence that it’s hard to unplug.
I’m not sure when I became a Luddite. I remember enjoying my Atari 2600 and playing the heck out of Donkey Kong, Pitfall!, and Ms. Pac-Man. One day a friend introduced me to the Super NES. Check out all those buttons on the controller! Look at the graphics! Get a load of the game choices! Yeah, but … I was still attached to my Atari. How could I toss aside the memory of all those late nights spent dodging flaming barrels or flinging myself over pits of quicksand, just for something newer and shinier? I resisted, telling my friend that I loved my Atari and didn’t need the next big thing. It was a gut reaction – I knew right away that it wasn’t going to win me any popularity contests.
Eventually, I let the Atari collect dust in a cabinet and switched over to Nintendo. The lapsed Luddite makes her first appearance. (Hmmm. I suppose a true Luddite wouldn’t be playing video games at all.) Maybe I’m more of a late adapter than a Luddite? I’ve had similar resistance/acceptance cycles with other forms of technology. I joined Facebook one day a few years ago and instantly deactivated my account because the screen seemed so busy and, I don’t know, aggressive? I figured I didn’t need a FOX News-style headache during my free time. For whatever reason, I succumbed to Facebook again (I blame peer pressure), and I gave in to Twitter, too. But let’s not even discuss how long it took me to get a smart phone.
I ask myself all the familiar questions while navigating through the twenty-first century: Is my life better because I’m using this gadget or participating in this website? Is this an effective use of my time and energy? If I have a feeling or thought, should I immediately broadcast it to my electronic loved ones? Do I really need to watch TV, look at my Twitter feed, and eat dinner at the same time?
There’s no escaping it, though. And you know what? I’m glad. As I work every day on building my business, I’m so grateful that I have options for marketing and networking besides making phone calls or mailing out brochures. Progress, indeed, is a beautiful thing. Like so much in life, my Luddite tendencies come down to a fear of the unknown. But I’m ready to lapse some more, and make the technological age work for me.by