When Technology Fails Us

Last Friday, I got a text message on my phone, from the company that makes the phone, about a couple updates that I should download.  Now usually, I would not go to the link in one of those random texts that comes from one of those five-digit numbers.  But because the website was the actual phone company’s website, I did this time.  It seemed totally legit, and it explained how to go about downloading the handful of updates they had developed to make my phone run better.  So I did it.

Shortly after the updates finished downloading, I went to send a text message.  And what do ya know, an error message popped up.  It was not going to let me send, let alone look at, text messages.  I called the company’s customer service department and was on hold for almost a half hour, and when I finally spoke to some one, they told me that they have been dealing with this issue all day.  Apparently, the new updates were causing everybody problems, and they were doing their best to fix it.  In the meantime, though, I could download a “third party app” that would allow me to send and receive text messages.  I did that, but it’s just not the same.  I’m definitely not texting as much as I was when it was working regularly on my phone.  Still waiting for that update that is going to fix this issue.

There are several thoughts that have hit me throughout the last few days of having to deal with this (minor!) inconvenience in my life.  First of all, if you had rewound to about six years ago, I could not have cared less about text messaging.  I was one of the last of my friends to catch on to that whole thing.  When I did finally succumb to the pressure, I didn’t send that many texts per day, I kept it to a minimum because it still didn’t really matter to me that much.  But now, I probably text more than I make phone calls.  I used that technology so much that it became a regular part of my way of interacting with people.  Now, it has obviously gotten to the point where I really missed it when it was unavailable, and needed to figure out a way to be able to text when faced with the prospect of going without it for an indefinite amount of time.

I think that’s what happens with technology.  It starts out as a cool idea, something that we see as a sort of fun thing to do on occasion.  Then it becomes, “wow, this makes my life a whole lot easier,” and then, “I don’t know what I’d do without it!”  And once you’re at that last point, you find yourself getting pretty upset when that particular piece of technology breaks or starts working improperly.

I’m not saying that I think technology is bad–trust me, I think it can be used for a lot of really good things, and I am all for it when it is necessary and helpful.  However, I just think it’s good to step back every once in a while and ask ourselves if we are relying too heavily on a particular thing, and remember what we used to do before we had it.  Not because it’s ever going to go away necessarily, but so that we don’t become panic-stricken if and when we have to live without it for a time.  Because let’s face it, we all have to know what to do when things break or are unavailable.  Sometimes we have to go old school and live without cell phone or internet service for days at a time.  Sometimes we can’t text people as often or as easily as we would like.  And maybe that’s okay once in a while.  Am I going to do a little happy dance when I get my regular texting back?  Of course.  But in the meantime, I think it’s good for me to take a little break.