What Do You Hate About Technology?

By Kaila Hale-Stern on at

My current pet peeve is being out with friends who seem incapable of putting their phones down. We’re existing in a time when there is zero etiquette about when it is appropriate to use your phone in public. What gets your goat these days?

You know the old psychological yarn about how we often hate the stuff we deeply identify with? Well, I’m a smartphone addict — or I was. I used to have it in my hand constantly, or out on the table, or pause conversations to check a notification coming in from social networks. But enough people brought this behaviour to my attention that for a while now, I’ve made a conscious effort to put the phone away when I’m interacting with actual humans face-to-face. And I realised how much I was missing before.

Of course, there are circumstances that can’t be avoided. I work on the internet, and sometimes there will be an important work message. I sneak on to star your comments when a post publishes after work-hours. A friend having a terrible day should get a text back if I’m out at a bar with others. But lately, I’ve grown more and more frustrated with people who don’t seem to notice or care that they’re only half-present in interactions and at organised events.

Why did you come to this concert if you’re going to read Tumblr all night? Am I boring you so much that you need to maintain four text message convos while we’re at dinner? You asked me to dinner! I find this behaviour to be increasingly rude and inexplicable. We have social niceties concerning talking on the phone in the presence of others; why haven’t we come up with expectations for staring at your screen?

This is just one way tech and our uber-connected modern life can feel like a drag instead of an innovation. There’s endless other issues to be found concerning the gadgets, gizmos, apps and practices that increasingly dominate our mental bandwidth. Lots of cool technology is also hellaciously expensive. Customer service for said devices can be a nightmare. A Silicon Valley bubble has flooded the market with half-baked services. Social networks seem full-to-bursting with in-fighting, trolls, and negativity. So take a moment here and rant a little. I promise it will feel therapeutic.

What sticks in your craw the most lately?

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