early adoptors: us and them

when it comes to technologies it is fair to say that i’ve not historically been an early adoptor. i didn’t have a smart phone until last year (and it’s still not updated to the new os), my twitter account went unused for nearly 3 years, and i still listen to cds and keep a paper calendar. today, however, as i eagerly count down the hours until a new release, i feel like an early adoptor. i suddenly understand the excitement that anticipation invites and i look forward to getting to be ahead of the pack, smugly nodding my head knowingly tomorrow when others partake in that which i’ve already enjoyed. this is a heady feeling. 

sometimes when people hear me speak they assume that i am anti technology. many who come to hear me are. they are proud of the fact that they don’t have cell phones, still read actual newspapers, and have no idea what a tweet even is. this is fine. even virtuous for some. conversely, others in the gathering have their cell phones in hand throughout the talk, tweeting, facebooking, and texting their way through the time. they love that i have a twitter handle and an online presence. i am constantly reminded that finding folks who live comfortably between these two extremes is difficult.

it seems to me that the topic of technology is rarely a unifier of people. we all want to label ourselves and know where we stand and who stands with us. it seems to me, however, that the divide between the early adoptors and the late to the gamers will only grow if we continue to engage in “all or none,” “us or them” conceptualizations. if those who don’t engage technology do nothing but sit on the sidelines judging those who do, how will they ever begin a conversation? if those who tend toward tech immersion never put their devices down to look up and around how will they have anything but a uni-dimensional life?

i am a person who is a connector. messy, face to face, embodied person to embodied person encounter doesn’t typically intimidate me. i am also, however, an introvert who takes full advantage of the efficiency and expediency that messaging and texting offers. i both use technology and i don’t and i find that i can’t point a finger at either “side” of the debate without three fingers pointing back at myself. perhaps you can relate. i hope you can.

and so i’m looking for the common these days. instead of shaking my head when i see folks lined up for the release of a new video game, i’m embracing that i, too, have things i’ll go out in the middle of the night for. we may not be driven by the same passions but we are both driven by passion.

tonight my passion is for the movie “her.” i’ve been waiting for its release in much the same way that others anticipate the drop date for a new game or record or device. i anticipate that the story will make me feel known, understood, and inspired...less alone in what i believe to be healthy and difficult and important. i assume the film will afford opportunities for discussions around an issue i feel strongly about. it will put a topic i’ve devoted a lot of time and effort to front and center. i could use this to make me feel important and above and more insightful than. seeing it before it’s wide release will provide me with all kinds of opportunities to say “i told you so” and “i saw it first” and “you should really see...(because, Lord knows, YOU need it!!!),” and all other manner of ridiculous things that i will be tempted to say. 

i hope, instead, to use this experience to remind me that i am human. that just as others head out late into the night on a release date, i am driven by passions personal and corporate. that the things that i will sacrifice sleep for are simply that...things that i will sacrifice sleep for. perhaps i can use this to understand and relate and to learn and include and connect and, in so doing, create opportunities for true encounter where "us and them" can learn from each other.

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