I have spent my entire career working with (for?!) the devices and technologies Krista and Sherry discussed. Their conversation shook loose two related ideas for me.
My first thought, especially from my current perch as an IT manager, is that devices like BlackBerries are symbols of power and importance in the corporate environment. Average workers see the execs with these devices and make the lazy intellectual leap that the devices connote power. And who doesn't want to be seen as powerful and important at work? The problem with this conclusion is that it gets extended into the non-work environment, thus families get ignored for smart phones.
Secondly, my question, even to those around me lost in the throes of gadget lust, is: "what is missing from your life?" These devices and technologies fill our lives because we allow them to, and they enter our lives because we almost always invite them in. It's one thing to find ourselves beholden to email at the office. I know I certainly do. But in our personal lives? The cultural need to fill the natural silences in life with email and its ilk says something disturbing to me about how we relate to our own thoughts and selves. Given where we are as a society in general, I cannot see this as a healthy or sustainable trend.
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