Reading the thoughts posted by Kevin Kelly about the adoption of technology and technology as an organism was interesting and although first posted in 2009, the theories still resonate today in 2013, as technology continues to grow as a “self-organising living force.” (Kelly, 2009b)
Some of the points that interested me are: that technology is a “cosmic force” that precedes the Big Bang; that the adoption of technology is not always obvious and is even rejected despite clear demonstrated benefits; that people make definite decisions to not use particular technologies “simply because” and this is often based on how we want to “signal our identity”. (Kelly, 2009a)
Applying these ideas to the world around me I observe the love of gadgets and new technologies in some of the people I know. I share their excitement when obtaining a new toy such as a shiny new electronic notepad, or tablet. I share the enthusiasm of others in my sphere when we try to tell our customers, friends and family about the fantastic opportunities in libraries today especially via our digital resources. I love to try out new online technologies and agree with Kevin Kelly that “the only way we can determine whether something is good or bad for us, is through use.” (Kelly, 2009b)
But equally I observe the “Luddites” around me. You won’t find them on Facebook or Twitter or blogging. They might have an email address and a mobile phone but that’s it. You are more likely to find these people gardening, or cycling, or fishing, or out in the community somewhere doing practical things. I am generalising here of course and not suggesting that there is anything wrong with this at all. But thinking of those “dis-connected” people I know; those who define their identity within a technologically driven and connected society by choosing to not use any particular technology. As Kelly says ” You define yourself by what you don’t use.” (Kelly, 2009b)
There is no right or wrong here, only personal preferences, but I notice that with the fast-paced evolution of internet-based technologies, these people get left behind and the gap grows increasingly wider. Being immersed in a technology like online social media allows you to get swept along on the wave of development, whereas if you are not in it to begin with, there are more skills to learn if and when you do dive in.
Kelly, K. (2009a). Ethnic technology, The Technium. Retrieved from http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/03/ethnic_technolo.php
Kelly, K. (2009b). Penny thoughts on The Technium. The Technium. Retrieved from http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/12/penny_thoughts_2.php