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Although technology has made several advancements, why does it seem as if some people have left their intelligence behind? I am sure that we have all discussed the changes that technology has made in our lives. Are we really at a point where we no longer think for ourselves and let machines do the thinking for us?

People can argue that technology has improved so many things in our lives like cell phones that keep you in constant contact or are handy for emergencies whether your phone is dumb or smart.

There are other things like smart phones and computers that give us instant access to information, for example, we no longer have to pick up an encyclopedia (for those that don’t know it is a book with facts and information), now we can just “Google it.” The hard cover or the paperback book no longer matter now that we can get that bestseller on a handheld e-reader, like the Kindle with glare reduction. Research is no longer going to the library; all we have to do is boot up the computer, turn on the tablet, or check a smart phone. The Internet doesn’t lie, right. If it is on the Internet it is the truth, not.

Do you remember maps? Who knows how to read a map these days? However, who needs an actual paper map when you can go to Google maps, MapQuest, use GPS, or better yet, just have Siri give you step by step directions as you hold your smart phone in your hand while you are driving. God forbid if you get lost and your device doesn’t work and you have to maneuver your way out with a map.

Socializing used to be meeting friends at a barbeque, a sporting event, or happy hour and maybe even talking on the phone. Now it’s all about social networking, posting on Facebook, commenting on Twitter, or submitting that selfie of you in your bathroom mirror on Instagram. Is social media keeping people connected or is it giving us bad social skills?

Pinterest is another social network that allows people to share their creativity and interests by pinning images to their own boards. This is a website where the craftiest people can get new ideas and share their own ideas. Back in the day we took a class or had friends over for a craft day.

What would we do without the EHow website that teaches people how to do anything and everything? There are articles and videos on the website offering a step by step guide to fix or make a wide variety of things. In the past, one might call the neighbor down the street that does that for a living or consult with good old Dad.

If you have a social media account of any kind there will be someone on your friends list that will just irritate you with their post, comment, or pictures after a while. You no longer have to be in front of someone or around them to annoy them and if it gets really bad just “unfriend” them.

Technology has changed photography in a huge way. There is no film and now we can take hundreds of shots. Although, we no longer know if that picture is actually what was shot; with the Photoshop program anything goes. Pictures can be altered in so many ways, making the sky really blue, removing things, adding stars, and so much more.

Is that profile picture truly the person that is being represented or is that someone else or has it been altered? Catfish on MTV is on the case and will investigate the truth.

We have emoji’s that can tell our friends, family, acquaintances how we are feeling in a cell phone text. We no longer have to spell words since these little pictures of faces and other things can tell our whole conversation in pictures.

Texting is another wonderful addition to advances in technology. We no longer have to spell anything correctly due to the abbreviations of words to get that text out quickly. Some of the most commonly used text abbreviations, BRB (be right back), 2moro, 2nite, BTW (by the way), GR8 (great), L8R (later), B4N (bye for now), BFF (best friends forever), TTYL (talk to you later) and one of my favorites LMAO (laughing my *** off). Who doesn’t enjoy a good chuckle?

However, there is the ever so quick auto correct that can change a real word you meant to type into something else. Knowing how to spell words in this technology age seems to be overrated since we have programs out there that will spell check as you write and help you with your grammar, if it can figure out what you are trying to say.

The applications/software that are available for our use that is supposed to make our lives easier like spreadsheets, word processing, tax software, financial software, fitness programs, calorie count, nutrition information, and let’s not forget about all those games that we can play on our phones and computers that keep us from getting bored or talking to each other.

The new technology age we live in is inescapable so you might as well embrace it. Just look around if you are doing an old-school thing like taking a walk without your phone or IPod, as you are taking in the beauty of the old buildings, the colorful flowers, the trees, or people watching, smile for the camera. Cameras are posted on street lights, store fronts, or that weird drone flying around keeping an eye on you because we know “big brother” is always watching.

This leads me to the privacy issue of all this technology. Do we have privacy anymore? Or are we living in the day and age where everyone knows where you are and what you are doing or what you did? For example, if you follow someone on Twitter are you doing it literally? Well not necessarily but you could be. #Creeper

So for those of you who love the social media networks and can’t get enough technology, remember that the human touch and talking to people face to face (not in facetime) is still important. For the people that think they are disconnected enjoy what technology has to offer but don’t get sucked in.

We should all take one day of the week, where we turn off all the electronic devices, no cell phones, no TVs, no computers, no tablets, nothing and truly disconnect so we can enjoy the people, pets, beauty of the life that we are so blessed to have. If we lost power by a solar flare or an EMP, we need to be able to function without it and survive because we are truly bigger as a society than that and life outside of technology still matters.


Virginia Still is a reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.