Technology: My life is a seamless narrative. Or a hopelessly chaotic mess.

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Jan posted this Friday Five:

For this Friday Five, let us explore our use of and desire for such items.

1. What types of technologies, like cell phones, computers, tvs, etc., do you routinely use? How frequently?

I use my laptop, which is a MacBook Pro, for multiple hours a day. I’ll admit I have a somewhat idolatrous relationship with this device. It holds all my writing, which is precious to me. It connects me to my family members, as well as the wider world. It is my sermon file and my stack of manuscripts in progress.

We do have a TV but no cable, and bad reception. So we use the TV almost exclusively to watch Netflix streaming. BTW, we’re working our way through a BBC show called “Doc Martin” which I really enjoy.

I used to have a Kindle but it froze up. I suspect someone sat on it, and I know who did it. And will take that knowledge to my grave!

My husband uses an iPad a lot. He works in technology in schools, so he uses iPads for educational purposes and is always tinkering. But I prefer my laptop because of my writing. To me, a laptop is for producing media, and an iPad is for consuming media.

2. What social media and/or games do you like to play? How often? On which device do you occupy yourself? Which method of social media do you prefer?

I use Twitter and FB. I blog. I have a website. But I have never played an online game other than a little Sudoku. I’ll sometimes do a round of Sudoku if I feel stuck mentally, it can jig things loose. Oh, my other online distraction is to check my book’s Amazon ranking. Hokey Pete! Did you know that an Amazon ranking changes every hour depending on rather complicated algorithms! It can jump all over the place! And watching it is just a little addictive. As Anne Lamott says, “Me published is me at my most mentally ill.” (that’s a paraphrase, but boy is it true)

Blogging and book-marketing are the activities that force me to figure out technical challenges. How to use spam filters. Embed video. Use photos. Update website pages. View my statistics. Use Goodreads, Amazon author sites. It never ends! I try to think of it all as “Work in Progress” and be relaxed about it. But at times I just have to grit my teeth and git’er done!

I use iCal but I have had some disastrous non-synching kinds of problems. so I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. 

3. Do you separate online activities between home and work? Or is it all the same everywhere?

I work at home. My life is a seamless narrative. Or a hopelessly chaotic mess. Depending on the day.

4. Do you have a smart (or I-) phone?

Yes. And it’s handy – especially when I’m away all day, or traveling. I text message with my young adult daughters quite a bit, and can check email on it. I don’t usually use FB or Twitter.

The worst part is realizing how much we pay for our connectivity. I sometimes struggle with that. Yes, because I’m frugal, but also from childhood lessons about idolatry. (Alert readers perhaps noticed my earlier joke about an idolatrous relationship with my MacBook, so there is definitely some Calvinist guilt wrapped up with my technology. You too?)

5. What do you wish you had–or do not have–in relation to these devices?

I do find myself worrying about “end of life care” for my MacBook! (See earlier comment about Calvinist guilt!) Joking aside, I am quite pragmatic and would never be without an excellent laptop again, it is a most valuable tool. But I don’t upgrade for the sake of upgrading.

Bonus: What is the difference between your attitude towards these means of technology and a generation older or younger than you?

This is a good question. I definitely allow my daughters and my younger friends (approx 15 years younger) to introduce me to new devices and apps. I try to stay somewhat current. I don’t think I fear technology, but I am not super-quick to adapt. For instance, I dabbled in “Stumble Upon” but don’t really use it. And I have friends who love Evernote, but I haven’t switched over.

My parents are in their 80s. I definitely see the potential of technology (in terms of keeping them connected to the world that is increasingly difficult for them to navigate physically) but it’s difficult to help them implement it well as I’m too far away. They do occasionally Skype¬†with my daughter, which is great. But even something as (seemingly) simple as getting them to read my blog (which I’ve been writing since 2007) seems insurmountable. No, that’s not fair. My Dad now has a Kindle that he uses.

At this point I’m not implementing a Tech Sabbath on the weekends, but I’m considering it. I do largely “unplug” when I travel. Also when I go on silent retreats to write. Those days are a breath of fresh air.

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I'm an essayist, memoirist, and Presbyterian pastor. My books are both spiritual memoirs -- "Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land" and "Ruined."