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Are You Emotionally Attached to Your Gadgets?

How much do you love your phone?

Do you resent your work PC as being slow or “boring”? Is your cute smart phone the first thing you check in the morning and last thing you look at before sleep? Not many of us have emotional attachments to our household tools, but often we have strong feelings about the tech we use at home, work or out and about.

More Than Just Hardware

When Google announced changes to its privacy policies, people went online to say how much they “loved” Google and its products or how they felt “betrayed” by the business practices of a corporation that managed their interaction with the Internet, videos and email.

With the latest news of Facebook buying photo app Instagram, Twitter news feeds filled up with people saying they would delete their accounts to avoid Facebook integration. People were emotionally upset that their favorite indie app would now be part of the social media giant.

Is this rational? Is it just a matter of us developing a “relationship” with quality products and user experiences? Is something else going on? Think of people lining up around the block at an Apple store to buy the latest product that could have been ordered online or purchased without delay from a non-Apple retailer such as Best Buy, AT&T or Walmart. Why do some consumers feel the need to commune with other fans or to give their allegiance to a giant corporation? Isn’t it just a phone or computer?

The Digital Tie That Binds

Most of us realize that our emotions shouldn’t be involved to the point that we act against self-interest. But these seemingly simple tools are important because they represent our connection to our online selves. They help us find access to our favorite places, our self-expression and our friends. Much like naming our cars and projecting a personality upon it, the current generations of users attribute those same qualities that a car used to provide to their personal technology.  In fact, recent research says that many teens would prefer a smartphone over a car if they had to choose.

One way to judge whether you are emotionally attached to your technology is to imagine packing your car to escape a fire or hurricane. Think of what you would bring that could fit in the backseat of your phone. A phone might be a practical choice for communication, what is stored on it and for the ability to access the Internet wirelessly. But what else would you bring? Your tablet computer? Your TV? Your PlayStation? These are all expensive items but are they more important than photos, clothes, food, sleeping bags?

They're Just Machines

It is great to value our choices, but don’t forget that gadgets are just that, gadgets. You shouldn’t use them to ignore your family at gatherings, check your phone while driving, buy the latest versions when your current version is serving you well or make any other decision that is driven by emotion instead of your good sense.

Does it matter to you if your loveable indie app is bought by a large corporation? Or if your favorite website changes its layout? Don’t confuse the emotion with your good sense. Clever advertising is used to create a brand’s image and often that image is more heavily invested in than in improving the product. There is nothing inherently wrong in “loving” your gadgets. But do be aware of the effect that emotion can have in clouding your decision-making and learn to laugh a bit at your attachment to your tools.

Sally Spangler April 13, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Gee - you threw me - I haven't seen H2SO4 since high school. Or is that a more modern comment of a new word for something we really don't want to use?<grin>
Nina April 15, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Sally - U read right ;8-)) 'H2SO4' won't get me in as much trouble as other ink. Working directly w people is much more important to me than 'techno-intermediaries' getting between folk. Looking directly into someone's eyes; listening & hearing their words/inflections; reading their 'body language' carefully; all contribute to more complete communications > very, Very important in so many ways. These 'techno-toys' are cute. This 3 time cancer-battler is much more interested in living alive rather than 'flicking fingers' in isolation. Rather suspect newest techno is expensive toys until their quality of usefulness is proven & integrated into quality services supporting lives. What do you think? :8-))
Sally Spangler April 19, 2012 at 05:14 PM
YES! Living and seeing and hearing and speaking with other people, is more important than all the electronic somethings in use any time! }:-)) My quilting friends came for our usual "bee" this morning. Two hours of interchange between ourselves, reminders of what was and what will be when we go on a retreat to the mountains and spend a weekend in an even larger group talking sewing, exchanging ideas on how to improve our quilt. Maybe a discussion of our children or their problems or ours. To know there is someone else to exchange ideas and maybe find out we are not sitting in a silent space alone and apart of the rest of the world. Depression and worry and hurting even more. "No man is an island....."' Don't sit and wonder what that sound is - go join with others and be part of the whole - not alone. "Do not send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for you!" Each of us is a piece of us ALL!
Nina April 20, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Sally - you need to meet my Aunt Guenivere & her quilting group. She quilts, teaches quilting, and helps manage local quilting co-op. She will admit to using a telephone for emergencies and her convenience. Yet she can, off the top of her head, tell us proper names & nicknames of family tree's many branches back thru Am. revolution with DAR verification refference book. She is also directly involved with urgent & emergency community needs and resources. My 50+ years with AmRC 'come a piker' by comparison. I'm trying to learn computer - Aunt G. doesn't need to find nor make time for 'modern techno toys'. May we live so long & do half as well ... :8-))
Sally Spangler April 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Hurry Nina, by the time you are conversant with a computer, the only computer will be a laptop toy size thing with more junk on it than you will ever use. Of course, your hand held whatever it is is doing everything you would want except turn your husband over so he won't snore in your ear and change the baby. Of course it wont heat the baby bottle either. Guess there will be a few things you will still have to do yourself manually, rather than electronically! <grin> Have a good life! gma

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