This is a Guest Post by Andrew Mason.
I was recently reading Craig Croschel’s book entitled It, and came across a passage I could absolutely identify with. In the book, Craig argues that the very technology that has empowered us to lead easier lives has also disconnected us in certain ways. Before the air conditioner was invented, people used to sit & talk away the hot afternoon hours, amidst a cool breeze on their neighbor’s porch. But when the AC came along, people moved indoors & no longer connected the way they used to.
Fast forward to today: The same tools that allow us to see each other from across the planet have created a wide freeway for unthinkable amounts of (largely impertinent) information to flow. The same tech that allows one persons’ message to be heard anywhere has also allowed everyone’s message to be broadcast everywhere.
For example, right now I’m staring at an email inbox riddled with more spam than I could program a stick to shake at. One out of every forty-seven messages actually contains some sort of relevant information. The same tech that was meant to relationally connect me with friends has now made it more difficult to hear the voices I deem the most important. These gains in information & efficiency come at the cost of our time & sometimes our focus & effectiveness.
Instead of merely looking nostalgically at Craig’s illustration of a pre-air conditioned world, we have to be actively careful not to trade quality relationships with people, with the efficiency of clicking a “send button.”
It costs our time.
When have we last paid the price of “our time” by physically visiting with someone we care about? It’s just so easy to turn the whole thing into a transaction by texting or twittering them instead. We have to make sure that we use this gained efficiency to support meaningful relationships, and not vica versa.
Have you counted the “cost” lately? What are your thoughts?