What's the point of keeping up with technology? - Student - The Independent

What's the point of keeping up with technology?

Stop worrying about buying the latest smartphone, says Eleanor Doughty. You're only going to lose it...

This week someone asked me how to use Vine. How to use what? Too late to save face, I realised that she was referring to yet another branch of social networking over-sharing bay tree.

A few days after this, Insta-idiot released Insta-vid in another stunt to try and reveal the minutiae of our daily lives to the baying public. Except I don't. Mainly because I don't have an iPhone, for my sins, or even an Android phone. I have a Blackberry, and not even the one that does Instagram. And that's primarily because it is about £400 more expensive than a mobile phone should ever be.

Having been born into a digital consumerist world, it is difficult not to be taken in by the upgradability of technology. Our lives are possessed by an endless uphill struggle to have everything personally tailored. And honestly, I’m over it. I have only lost one phone in my life – an exceptional pedigree compared to friends’ nine Blackberry tallies and multiple tales of stolen iPhones. My one mishap was tragic: a fetching silver number dropped into the snow whilst skiing. I rang it from my Mum’s phone for the whole holiday, crying woefully into my goggles. Needless to say, I learnt my lesson and now have special training in knowing exactly where my personal possessions are at all times.

Despite the older generations’ unwise appreciation of my average technical skills, I feel less concerned by new tech than ever. Following several hard-drive-induced panic attacks round essay-time and too many emergency calls to Apple stores across the South of England – I’ve now been to six different ones – I have learnt that technology requires patience. And as that is something outside my possession, I have ceased to be bothered about upgrades of any kind. My Mac is still running Snow Leopard, if you’re interested.

I sleep fine with this knowledge. No one would want the contents of my handbag – a two-year-old Blackberry with a 99 per cent full memory, a beautiful but cash-free wallet and no iPod due to its almost permanent residence in my gym bag. And obviously there would be a book, but considering my recent taste, I’m not sure anyone would be interested. I am old-fashioned enough to store my pennies in jam jars – unbanked for a rainy day – and still own a ticking clock and write letters. I sent one last week with two postscripts, something I consider delightful about writing. Of course, this is possibly nothing more than an excuse for being haplessly behind at modern life. But I think that’s okay.

Our consumption of the next best thing seems insensitive. Who really needs an iPhone full of apps to spoon-feed their every move through the day? If you can’t read a map but have your perfect ‘ambient’ music down, then you need to reconsider your priorities. An interviewee of mine commented recently on my handwritten questions: I beamed. And that if nothing else, is a win for the technophobes. Or at least, those resisting the jump to the wagon.

Eleanor Doughty is a second-year student at Queen Mary, University of London. Follow her on Twitter here. She probably won't follow you back.

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