Feed It With Colors And Good Intentions…

If you’re reading this then you’re a part of the only generation of human beings who will ever live to have experienced life before and after the advent of social media. That’s not just a unique position the history of mankind, it’s also a unique responsibility. 

The ability to interact and communicate with so many people, so quickly, and over such a distances is a miraculous technology — on par with the invention of the wheel and the domestication of fire. I’m awed by that, every day of my life. We live in an amazing age. 

It’s only in how we use this technology though, that will define its place in our species’ history. We, the first generation to use what will be used by every generation subsequent to ours, must set the tone. I’ve argued for as long as I’ve been a participant, that most people who use social media could be using it better and should be using it for higher purposes.

The use I see of social media is often tantamount to imbeciles playing with matches. Inevitably most everyone burns their fingers. And all too often, someone burns down the house or even their community. It should go without saying that if one doesn’t play with matches, they won’t get burned nor start an unwanted fire.

Negativity only breeds more negativity, and escalation of negativity on social media is a spark to a handful of straw.

I know many people reading this who claim they don’t use social media — and actually believe that. Blogging is a form of social media. Whether you’re the writer or the reader of a blog, you’re a participant in social media. If one checks or makes reviews on Yelp, hunts for bargains on eBay or Craigslist, uses apps like NextDoor, WhatsApp, or even participates in email or texting groups, then they also use a form social media. Sharing photos via a smartphone with friends or family in distant places is a form of social media. 

I’m a fan of the technology, but not always of how it’s used. Of course I say the same about religion, government, and capitalism. I do my best to use it with good intentions. I’ve never been much of a leader, but I wish more people would follow my lead on this one.

We must use the technology of social media better.

In all of this, I’ve included some smartphone pictures I took last week. I’ll take more again next week and share them here. And I’ll probably include another opinion about one thing or another, and hope I’ve done it with the best of intentions.

Lastly, I’ll remind anyone reading this that what makes one a good craftsman, a good statesman, or a good human is understanding the possibilities, the risks, and the limits of one’s tools and technologies.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 192

Climbing: 7,100’

Mph Avg: 16.0

Calories: 11,100

Seat Time: 12 hours 05 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Tom Jones. Enjoy…!

People Are The Crack…

In the 1980s, crack-cocaine propagated faster and with more disastrous results than any drug in history. In addition to the damage it would do to the lives, the families, and the businesses it disrupted, it became most used metaphor for addiction ever.

Not a day goes by that I don’t read something about our addiction to smartphones — always followed by a comparison to crack. Every time I touch my phone these days I feel guilty, if not ashamed because smartphones have been compared to crack so often.

Not so fast…

This image we have of addicts like me, in zombie-like postures, walking into stop signs, stepping into potholes, and otherwise ignoring the person standing right next to them because they are staring into their 7-inch vortex of intellectual displacement, is not where the story ends — not for me anyway. It’s easy to pass that kind of judgment, but look a little harder.

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This zombie might be paying a bill with my phone. I might be transferring money to my daughter’s bank account so she could go out to eat with her partner later that evening. I might be involved in a serious discussion with a friend on the other side of the world. I might be consulting with a client, either verbally or with text. I might be FaceTiming a friend in Mexico. I might be submitting an application for a small business loan. I might be reading Steven Pinker’s latest book or a relevant essay by William Buckley. Of course there are infinite positive things I might be doing with my smartphone while I’m in that zombie-like posture. And yes, there are infinite ridiculous things I might also be doing.

According to critical thinkers in technology, we are less than two generations away from smartphones, in much smaller sizes, actually being embedded under our skin. For more on that, I’ll suggest reading Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari. Of course, when and if that happens, by definition we will no longer be Homo sapiens.

Back to zombies…

Even if I am a zombie and I stare at my phone for up to 8-hours a day — which I don’t, but for the sake of argument let’s imagine that I do, what keeps me coming back to it is what’s at the center of everyone’s smartphone experience — the people.

The people are the crack.

Whether it’s conversations, songs, videos, or classic books, the people are the crack.

I find it nothing less than miraculous that I can have a conversation about mindfulness with a friend in Australia, or a conversation about dogs with a friend in Virginia just moments apart. I’ve been helping another friend in Northern England, via my smartphone, with his fitness objectives for over a year now. And all of this I do from my zombie-like posture.

Back to crack…

Once you ingest a drug, you have to take the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all until it wears off. You smoke crack and you get high, but you also get the withdrawal and all the physical manifestations that come with it, none of which you can shed instantly.

But with smartphones, the people are the high, but we don’t have to take all the negative side effects that goes with it. We can scroll past them — we can put the phones down and be active, if only for a while. We don’t have to accept any of the negative consequences that come with looking down. Unlike the crack, we have the option of looking away or turning it off altogether.

Ultimately, smartphones are about interconnecting people in a way that is an outright miracle in our lifetime. It is relationships, above all things, that we are here for call me and this handheld technology can foster new relationships and enhance old ones.

I’m Not A Zombie…

I have little doubt that I check my phone as much as anyone this. I scroll as much, I post as much, read as much, and I hold on to this little electronic rectangle — scarcely larger than a bar of soap, as much as anyone I know. But I also know went to put it down, turn it off, walk away from it, or not bring it with me.

I am not a zombie.

I don’t use an app to track my screen time. I can’t tell you how many times per day I check notifications. My smartphone spends much of my day in my left hand, but it spends more time turned upside down on a table or otherwise out of reach.

When it is in my hand though, my phone is a lens, a mirror, and a reflector. It helps me see myself better and helps me see others more clearly — a good reminder of who I am and who I don’t wish to be.

Despite that my phone is often near me or in my left hand, I accomplish as much in the course of the day without using it has anyone I know. I ride my bike daily, I walk daily, I take my mother out daily, and I spend time with my dog and cat daily. I work in my yard, I volunteered my community, I spend time with friends, and I also work. Sometimes these things involve my smartphone and sometimes they don’t.

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There’s no guarantee of Monday, from a Sunday point of view. From the moment I get out of bed each morning until I put my head on my pillow at night, I attempted to live my life to the fullest. Whether my phone is beside me or not is irrelevant.

If I attempt to live my life to the fullest, in no way can I be classified as a zombie. Just a guy attempting to leave a digital record that I was here, that I mattered, and that those I’m connected with matter too.

Last night I went to dinner with my mother and a couple of friends.  At the end of the evening I commented that we were the only people in the restaurant that had never had our phones out. There’s a time and place for everything, or not.

I am not a zombie…!

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 4
195 miles
9,200’ climbing
15.3 mph avg
11,100 calories
12 hours 45 minutes in the saddle

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from The Billy Nayer Show (Corey McAbee). Enjoy…