Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Name is Ludd

It's probably not a good thing to admit that I'm starting to act like my Grandmother when it comes to new technology. Actually, I think my Grandma had one up on me. She even embraced a knitting machine at one point.

What can I say, I'm a bit of a luddite. I didn't know what the word meant until a round of the game Balderdash. That game is surprisingly good at expanding one's vocabulary. I looked the word up, and discovered that not only does it refer to a person opposed to new technology, but apparently there was a riot back in the 1700's by a bunch of textile workers who believed that weaving machinery would lead to job loss.

I don't know if they had a point or not, but sometimes I do think new technology leads to loss.

For the most part, I like gadgets just fine. I only have a problem with one gadget. My cell phone, and all cell phones in general. I'm very grateful we have graduated from typewriters to computers, but I want to take the cell phone about seven rungs back on the technology ladder.

They're small. That's great. They work well, wonderful. Why does my cell phone have to do everything from shooting video to washing the dishes?

Here's a confession. I've never sent a text message. Maybe that's part of my problem. I just want to talk on my phone. I don't want to email people, I don't want to invent a new language by truncating sentences down to something that looks like random Scrabble tiles, and I certainly don't want to shop on my phone. And I really really really don't want to get nickle-and-dimed by the cell phone company as they charge me ten cents for this, and four hundred dollars for that.

I started thinking about all of this when Twitter became the next big thing. I just don't get it. First of all, I'm assuming Twitter is something for people who enjoy using their cell phone for things other than talking, because my only answer to the Twitter question is, "Sitting at my computer typing a message on Twitter."

I don't see the point.

And I feel a deep sense of loss. (Not about Twitter, I don't care about that.)

I hand wrote a letter the other day, and I realized that I had gone so long without using my handwriting, that it was shaky. That makes me sad. There's something beautiful about a hand written letter that you can't replicate with an email or a Tweet. We're in such a rush to do things quickly, I think we're forgetting how to do them well.

So I think I'll take a step back and embrace some older technology—a paper and a pen.

I am a writer, after all.


P.S. If anyone would care to tempt me in to the world of technology, I'm willing to listen. I just don't know if I'm ready for change.


Casey said...

Three cheers, Jess! I am an official Neo-Luddite, and I couldn't agree with you more. I was at a gathering recently where no fewer than 5 people in a room were on their phones talking to people who weren't in the room with them. And what about the people you're actually with??? I was also recently a witness to two young nieces sending each other texts...while they were sitting next to each other! We are quickly losing our skills to honestly communicate with each other, and it's a sad thing, indeed.

Jess Granger said...

And then to be expected to pay for the privilege of shrinking our vocabulary, over-filling our lives with these things we "have" to keep up with, etc.

Man. I don't know.

At least with blogs people have a chance to express themselves.


Aimers said...

I remember when we didn't even have PCs blogs and just had lovely diaries with gold tone locks and tiny keys and journals as we got older. I miss those days. I still have all my diaries and journals from my younger days. I embrace the computer and cell phone but I must admit it also makes me sad to note that my handwriting is shaky and uncertain as well. Great post!

Jess Granger said...

I used to love writing in my journals. I had some lovely ones. I used to draw pictures in them too.