Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Addiction is not a pretty word. It's onomatopoeic in that its pronunciation, like 'sizzle' or 'zip', reflects its underlying meaning. And yet it appears that every day we are dealing with more and technology addicts.
Who are these people? Well, they start off like you and me, except they start going crazy when you pull their gadgets from them. Crazy like a Forbes editor who breaks down crying after being derived of his cell phone, blackberry, and email for 40 hours. Dennis, congratulations for trying, most don't have it in them. Crazy like they are going to sue their boss for exposing them to technology in the first place. Crazy enough to know that they can't participate in shut down day because they will go nuts.
I have to admit, I know what they mean. When I first moved down to Boston, we didn't have Internet for about three days while the guys came and installed it. I was up with my laptop, trying to catch a wireless signal from a nearby house. Sometimes I would get one, very weak, read a few emails and then it was gone. This went on for hours...
Or take my cell phone. When I call someone, I'm kind of expecting an answer. You know, it's a cell phone - you carry it with you, charged up, ready to talk. It's not like your landline where, understandably, you can't always be there to pick it up. Ring, ring - where are you?
This sounds harsh, but I'm not the only one; in fact it seems like I am on the 'less twitchy' side of things. Fully one third of Americans spent over 200 a month in communication costs in 2005. Everyone has at least one story about the coworker who went nuts because the phone was dead, put his fist through a monitor that blacked out in the middle of a stock trade, etc. And if you are in IT, you have hundreds of these stories. Point being this - if we are truly addicted to these things, how are we going to do without them when, for example, power costs hit 50 percent of your IT budget? Is the modern day business more like a hospital?