That moment where it all flashes before your eyes…
Yesterday a very dramatic thing happened to me. My phone suddenly stopped working. One second I was sending a whatsapp, the next I was staring at the Black Screen of Death #BSOD.
The fear suddenly hit me. It was as if my world has just collapsed around me. I frantically tried to remember if I had everything backed up, what was on my phone that was of value to me? Then I remembered – all the pictures and memories from the best experience of my life (my recent trip to Peru) were on my phone – and not backed up! I cannot describe the emotions that went through my mind. My friends would normally describe me as tech savvy but this was truly was schoolboy error. What was I thinking!! #rookiemistake
I tried to calm my mind and think logically – how can I get the data back? The vendor was no help – without analysing the issue they wanted to hold me to ransom for £525 without giving the certainty my data would be recovered. My insurance company said they would fix the phone, but would return it to me with the factory settings reset as they could not save the data due to data privacy laws. Thankfully my local community came to my aid. A new side street phone and tech repair store had opened recently replacing the old late night taxi firm. On a no fix no fee basis, I walked away leaving my phone behind with the intention to return in a couple of hours.
To compound my bad start to the day, I returned home to discover that in my moment of panic, I walked out of the house without my keys. Then the realisation set in – how do I contact anyone? How do I contact my fiancé to tell her what has happened. I could email her? No wait I need my phone for that…and I cannot get to my laptop to send an email as that is conveniently the other side of the locked door… Spare set of keys? It was mid morning on a weekday – everyone was at work and I definitely don’t know anyone’s number off the top of my head!
I had become entirely reliant on my devices and the connectivity they offered me to my universe. My faith had been placed firmly in the digital, and suddenly I had no access to that. The feeling of isolation was incredible.
Thankfully, my friendly neighbourhood fixer dude came through and my phone was returned in a working state that evening and I had my precious data back. Needless to say it was backed up immediately!
Upon reflection in a more thoughtful state of mind – Why was it so important that I “had” to be connected? Was there anything in my inbox that if I did not respond to in the next 6 hours would cause a nuclear meltdown? Am I missing anything of value on my countless social media feeds? Was anyone in desperate need to contact me? The answer is a resoundingly No.
This led to me question how much our lives – and society in general – is evolving away from the need to do tasks manually in a physical environment to a more virtual world. Our devices are the medium to connect into this digital world. Further to this, does this mean that our true personalities are getting represented accurately in this online world? Large firms like Google, Facebook and Amazon who track our every move would certainly like to think so – perhaps our personalities are defined by our online habits?
I’m not sure I believe that. Are our real personalities getting lost in this virtual world? As humans, are our souls receiving everything they need from this digital world? How do we build meaningful connections and relationships in this 21st century digitally driven society?
I firmly believe there is a place for both worlds. Greater efficiency and convenience has been brought about by technology. But at some stage we need to allow our offline personalities grow again…