Benefits and Boundaries

I’ve been thinking lately about this augmented reality we live in and the interplay between technology and the everyday. Technology can enable and equip individuals. It can also become an obsession and distraction from reality. Growing up with a sibling who has Aspergers (well…some kind of Aspergers or Autism) gave me an insight into the use of computers to change lives. My brother didn’t really talk for years, but when he was introduced to computer games (in the 80’s) we saw a whole new side of him open up. As he played these games his coordination and speech development seemed to improve. He also became a bit of a savant with games, always scoring the highest scores in Arcades, beating kids twice his age and beta testing for computer game companies at quite a young age. He’d often sit playing through games “in his head” – unplugged. It’s not such an obsession for him these days but at the time it opened up a whole new world for him, and us.

This week I spent some time considering boundaries in a social media infused life.  I stepped back a little to think about the space between my everyday life and my online interaction. I deliberately spent time offline while I took a little break from work. Having some time away from the computer was worthwhile and re-energizing – it’s nice to spend some time away from the interweb. I pondered the potential benefits of “an analogue existence” but along the way found myself uploading photos of the week to Flickr. I thought about the notion of life without blogging or social networks, but found myself creating an online community for a Non Profit (right before I noticed my friend who moved overseas had uploaded some new photos of her family enjoying life in India on Facebook) I came to the conclusion that while I could live without social media, in reality – my reality is enhanced because of the new ways I connect, create and interact. Perhaps spending time online, even on vacation, isn’t such a bad thing after all. It just depends on how we invest our time, how we cherish those around us and giving some thought to what the benefits are to ourselves and others.

Oh, and just when I think I have the right balance, I find evidence that indicates otherwise, courtesy of our five year old’s creative lemon bowl tag. Cheeky monkey :)