Technology yields us many liberties yet we are often quick to forget its limitations. I recently came across a thought-provoking special report in the British publication The Economist titled “Labour Movement: The Joys and Drawbacks of Being Able to Work From Anywhere.” You can read it at www.economist.com.
The report identifies several tentacles of technology, including the tyranny of time: “Digital nomadism will liberate ever more knowledge workers from the cubicle prisons of Dilbert cartoons. But the old tyranny of place could become a new tyranny of time, as nomads who are “always on” all too often end up—mentally—anywhere but here (wherever here may be).”
And the report includes an example of time tyranny that we can all identify with: “It is becoming commonplace for a café to be full of people with headphones on, speaking on their mobile phones or…hacking away at their keyboards, more engaged with their e-mail inbox than with the people touching their elbows. These places are ‘physically inhabited but psychologically evacuated.’”
I periodically enjoy heading down to a local café with my favorite high-tech tools, but I also try to remain sensitive to the presence of other people by visiting with fellow patrons and otherwise being personable. Communication is ultimately designed to draw us closer to others, and using tools in a high-touch way helps us tame the tentacles of technology.