My co-worker here at HG Logistics LLC, a third party logistics company and freight transportation broker located in Cincinnati, Ohio, was sharing with me about a school play his ten year old son was in the other evening. The storyline was about grandparents who come to stay with their grandchildren while their parents were away for the day. Before the sun went down, they lose all power at the house making televisions, DVDs, computers, iPads, and even cell phones inoperable. The children were devastated, but the grandparents teach them that with a little creativity and imagination they can still have fun. While there was still sunlight, the grandparents introduced the children to new concepts like designing and conducting their own Great Indoor Olympics. They also played board games, made paper airplanes, and had a jump roping contest. When night came upon them, they played Flashlight Freeze Tag and told stories around a campfire.
The same day my co-worker shared with me about the school play, I heard my manager telling another employee about how years ago he use to dispatch his drivers from information he would scribble on a sheet of paper. At that time, he admitted he hated using the computer. He even had another employee enter the data in the computer from his notes in order to avoid dealing with it. However, today he tells a different story. Today, he stated that he does not know how he ever did it that way because, now, he cannot function without the computer.
Hearing these two encounters at work started me thinking about how we have become so technology dependent. Technology consumes our world. In no means is this blog meant to ding technology because I understand its considerable advantages and how it has opened a world of opportunities in both our business and personal lives. However, I do think that more often than not we lean too much on technology to do our thinking and provide our entertainment.
In some ways, we have lost the art of brainstorming. We think brainstorming is searching the Internet for ideas and answers. In other ways, technology dismisses one-on-one interaction and face-to-face conversations. When we choose to play a video game or watch TV, we lose the social benefit of spending time with family and friends. We miss that connection with others.
Even at work, we often spend more time emailing people instead of just talking to them. This is true even with people who sit directly across from us. I was just discussing this with a customer the other day. Together, we were trying to make heads and tails out of numerous emails that were sent in regards to rescheduling a shipment. I made the comment that it would be much easier to just call the receiver and let them explain exactly what they want and when they want it. I posed the question, “Why don't we do that anymore? Why does it have to be through email?” We concluded the answer to be that we prefer email because email provides a record of what transacted and we don't have to rely on “he said–she said.” Regardless, in some instances, I still think a quick, direct conversation would eliminate any confusion and save us some valuable time.
Technology has been incorporated into almost every area of our lives and I don't see that trend reversing. What I am really amazed at is the young age at which children are grasping a hold of technology. Even infants are fascinated with their parent's cell phones. My two year old granddaughter knows all about them. The other day she was holding her puppy and showing him a picture of her with Santa. She proceeded to tell her puppy all about Santa, and then she looked at Santa in the picture and said, “Santa, if you have any questions just text me.”
This generation of children is going to grow up in a tech savvy world. There is no question about that. But I think it would be nice to shut the power off from time to time (just like in the play) and have them engage in some good old fashion fun.
Actually, HG Logistics has experienced at least three power outages in the past few years. Yes, at first we panicked and yes, it did slow down communication. But in the end we managed to get creative and still conduct business. We even got to sit around and eat lunch by candlelight and share some stories and laughs.
There is no doubt that technology is good. I guess the thought I am trying to convey in this blog is the same as the 4th grade school play:–Life can exist beyond technology, and occasionally, let us not deny ourselves the privilege of seeing life on the other side of the television set and computer screen.