In the modern world it seems almost impossible to exist without internet, a phone, your own computer, and so on, but does it really make life any easier?
Essays and papers
Let’s start with a great example of something almost everyone has to do on a regular basis in college – essays and papers. With a computer you often sit down and do some basic background research online, check out what books are available in the library, check out what books are available as ebooks or ejournals and so on. You can collect all of your research into one place, such as Evernote or a folder of files, and then when it comes to typing it up you can re-arrange sections of your work, correct spelling mistakes, work on different sections at different times and so on.
How would it be if you didn’t have a computer?
You’d start by going to the library, looking in the reference catalog to find a list of books that were on your subject (and possibly asking a librarian), going and finding the books on those subjects and starting to read them. You’d make notes on paper or index cards and then you would start writing it up. You’d probably have to write the essay out several times including a “best copy” at the end to hand in. If you had a typewriter then you could type things up on that but you would still need a best copy. The other thing is you would have to work through your essay in the order it was going to be written in, because if not then you would have pages with just one paragraph on them (for example).
Verdict: Yes, it makes life easier!
Socialising with friends
You want to go out for an evening with your friends, maybe go to see a film, or go out. You can start by creating an event on Facebook or emailing everyone and getting their ideas/opinions. Then you can find out what’s going on – perhaps there’s a special at your favourite bar or there’s a late night showing of a film you all want to watch, you put the time into the event and message everyone, or email everyone of the time and then people let you know if they’ll be there or not.
So what would happen if you didn’t have a computer?
You would start by texting or phoning everyone to find out who was available and what they wanted to do. Then you would have to look through the flyers that come through your door, the newspaper or call local enquiries and find out what was available. Then you would have to phone or text everyone back and they would have to confirm.
Verdict: Yes, it makes life easier!
Reading a book
So you want or need to read a book. If you have a Kindle or other reading device, iPad or other tablet, or a computer you can choose to read your book in an e-format, or on paper. Let’s say you have a Kindle or iPad. You can start by going to the Kindle store or the iBooks store and looking for the book you want. You find it’s available and download it. You start reading within seconds, it only to have a notification pop up on your device that it has low battery. So you find a socket and plug it in. Eventually you finish reading the book.
Let’s look at the paper format. You either buy the book or borrow it, and then when it arrives/you get it you start reading it. You can pick it up whenever you like because you don’t need to worry about the battery running out.
Verdict: 50:50. Technology is great because you can get the book instantly and for the same price/cheaper than the real book, but it has the trade-off of a battery life.
Keeping in touch with friends and family
This is something that almost everyone does, whether or not you’re miles away from home at college or just down the road.
If you use the computer/smartphone and the internet to keep in touch you can do so via Skype fairly easily and for free. Depending on where you live and your internet connection your service might be great, or it might be not so great, but it will work 90% of the time. You can also send emails to keep in touch, and attach photos. You could even start your own blog so that all your friends and family can read it.
What would you do offline? You would have to send letters, or faxes, phone someone with a regular phone and print extra copies of photos to post – or wait until you got home to show off the pics.
Verdict: Technology makes life easier and cheaper in this instance. Though sometimes the old-fashioned way is more reliable (regular phone instead of Skype), but there are too many benefits to ignore.
This is just 4 cases where technology does/might make your life easier. Whenever you pick up a new gadget with the thought “this will make my life so much easier” think it through – hair straighteners might make your hair straight, but will it truly make life easier to spend the time straightening your hair?
Do you have any examples of where technology does or doesn’t make your life easier? Tell me in the comments!