Ruminations on Technoslavery

By Katie Ash — August 06, 2009 1 min read
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In catching up with the ed-tech blogs I read this morning, I came across a couple of different takes on an issue many folks struggle with: how to know when it’s worth keeping up with the seemingly never-ending stream of technological developments, and when it’s better to just ignore them.

This first post, from the Harvard Business blog, gives permission not to keep up with the latest developments with social networks and technologies. “There is no hope. You can’t keep up,” says Alexandra Samuel, the chief executive officer of Social Signal, a social media agency.

Of course, what Samuel advocates is not to turn a blind eye completely to technology, but rather to narrow down what is in your best interest to follow and focus on that particular aspect, rather than keeping up with everything going on in the field. Instead of trying to keep up with the latest up-and-coming technologies, choose what is most helpful for yourself and those you work with, she says.

And then there’s this anecdote, by Will Richardson on Webblogg-ed, about being labeled by a stranger as technoslave:

You’re a technoslave!” the guy yelled across the square, and I looked up to see him hurrying along with an angsty expression on his face. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my kids wheel around, too, Tucker stopping dead in his tracks. “It’ll ruin your life! Throw it away! Just throw it away!”

Upon further reflection, Richardson comes to the conclusion that he may indeed be a slave to technology, but even though it can be overwhelming sometimes, technology ultimately enhances many aspects of his life and is worth the effort to follow.

What do you think? How do you deal with the overload of new technological developments? When is it worthwhile, and when is it futile? Is there anything you’ve made a conscious decision not to follow?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.