The GPS Culture…

In my former career as a technologist, my favorite employment was that of a programmer and developer. The challenge of analyzing a customer’s need and then translating that concept into a computer program that will reach beyond their initial business requirements always provides a full sense of self-satisfaction. The compliment comes when the client calls and asks for enhancements to their new system.

However, I have observed one main cultural change – people want immediate results.

Ponder this thought….

We have or rely upon a developed technology called a Global Positioning System (commonly referred to as GPS). Whether it is a feature in our favorite mode of transportation or on our portable devices, it is something we rely upon for blind-faith direction on a regular basis. What many forget is the thousands of laborious hours that rest behind the curtain which yields near-accurate results.

As consumers, we generally do not think that – we simply type the destination address and eventually, we arrive in the general area IF we follow the commands of that pleasant voice which steadily announces every turn and street name.

So it is with our lives. We perform Internet searches to obtain answers to our immediate problems or questions. We turn on the TV to receive the news of the day so that we are conveniently informed of current events. Our fingers are busily texting or posting updates to our social media links (as if people truly need to know where we are every minute of every day). People prefer to “look up the answers” or entertain their children (especially on those long car rides) with videos, music on-demand, or games on their portable devices. You get the gist of this concept.

Our personalized GPS “tells” us what to do, where to go, and how to find answers. Technology is not all bad – it is simply a method to obtain answers in life more efficiently and effectively as long as we trust the information being received. I understand this because my job as a programmer was to decipher data and produce business analysis that can be interpreted for optimal corporate strategies.

Unfortunately, the lost art of communicating at the dinner table or the coffee conversations (without devices to look upon in the midst of that time spent together) is fast becoming the norm. This translates into the acronyms that proliferate the landscape of the cloud (not the blue skies we see when we look up but the Internet “cloud” of data passed at speeds we cannot fathom). BRB, CYA, FWIW, GR8, ILY, IMHO, J/K, L8R, LMAO, LOL, THX, TLC, TMI, WYWH, XOXO… STOP!!!

It is comforting to see that some are realizing this sad cultural decline and have taken it upon themselves to limit their technology interaction, especially when they actually sit with people to have a decent conversation (Skype does not count either). I have enjoyed that simple change in my lifestyle recently but find it sad when others can’t seem to peel away from their phones for that one hour  to spend with someone on a personal level. It’s disheartening when the person I am sitting across the table from is twitching or quickly checking their phone “in case of an emergency.” Will the world truly stop in less than an hour? Aside from those true emergencies like saving the world or waiting for a transplant donor, do we really need to stay “plugged in” ALL of the time?

When was the last time you challenged yourself to ignore your own GPS and simply call a friend to get together for a “real” cup of coffee or tea?

Why not challenge yourself this week and see if you can survive one hour of your 168 hours in a week to have a good old-fashion conversation?

Leave a comment and share how that experience changed your GPS.


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