Category Archives: ‘an analogue life_Paul Carder’

The digital, online world, can give us back our lives: if only we let it

In my last post on this subject, digital progress may give us more analogue time, I provided a link to one tech firm’s vision of the future. What is the ‘future’ depends where you are right now, of course. The vision provided by Virgin Media is well into the future for most people; but for others, there are parts of this vision that is already reality. For example, the freedom exhibited by the main ‘character’, to visit her father in the countryside whilst on the same morning taking part in an international online meeting. The ‘tech’ shown is futuristic, but I (and many colleagues) do this every week, as we talk with each other around the world.

Time is finite. We cannot afford to waste it. Most of us feel that we do not have enough of it. Time is therefore a precious ‘commodity’, to be traded. You sell your time to your employer, or clients. You give your time to others freely, by personal choice. You wish for more time with some people, those you love, and who love you – that time has a higher premium. Do you trade that time for ‘paid’ time, sold to your employer? Maybe you have to do that – maybe time is short, but so is money!

I am forever telling my teenage children not to ‘waste’ time online, in their own digital world. But at their age, they have more time free, and therefore more choice. Depending on the stage in your life-path, you have less time as an adult, and eventually (we all hope) considerable free time as an older retired person. But somewhere between 25 to 65 years of age, most of us hit ‘peak time’, with little room for anything else but work, family, friends, and other commitments that we pick up along the way.

My point? For busy people, somewhere in that mid-life section, a better digital life can provide more analogue time: i.e., the balance of digital and analogue life.

To me, it is about work (using the widest definition – i.e., what you do between rest, play and leisure time) and place. The latter being key to life balance. In the days before our digital life, we needed to be somewhere specific to do our ‘work’. Many still do, but so many more people are now finding that they can get at least some of their daily work done in any place. Test it.

Take the most unlikely digital online worker – someone you think must be somewhere specific to do his or her work. Say, a Police Officer? Mostly, we want to see Police out in public, as we feel reassured and safer (in the UK anyway!), but they also have to write reports, fill in forms, exchange emails, as do the rest of us. Some of that could be done on a laptop or tablet, somewhere non-specific. That could be in a school cafeteria, or staff common room (public building) rather than tucked away in a police station.

Better still, if that school was close to home, whereas ‘the station’ was many miles away, that Police Officer may be able to finish off the ‘paperwork’ (now, less paper, more online) and meet his or her child from school….straight into high-value analogue time. So, digital life has just added to analogue life. Without it, the Police Officer is many miles away, stuck in the Police Station, filling in forms. And his or her child is in after-school club. Both lose valuable time, forever.

Should we invest more in digital, to give us all back our high-value analogue lives? I think we should. What do you think?

Paul (@paulcarder)

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Digital progress may actually give us more analogue time

Apologies, it was last summer when I penned my last blog on this site. It was my opening thought on the balance between digital and analogue life…but I failed to follow through!

However, over those last few months, I have become increasingly convinced that ‘digital’ may actually help ‘analogue’ life. If we understand the difference, and we manage it well.

The better that digital communications become, the more immersive and ‘real’ the experience becomes, then the less we actually need to BE anywhere specific. Look at Generation:IP (by VirginMedia) as a futuristic example. It is a little way into the future – but how long? Just a few years? I’ll bet their labs are using it now, testing, and these technologies will be on the market soon.

That means less commuting, less stress, and more analogue time. Historically, ‘commuting’ is very recent! Perhaps digital process will make it ‘recent past’?

Life is not digital; we need a balance with our natural ‘analogue’ life

I am starting to think of life in this way. We spend so much of our professional lives ‘connected’ to one or more digital devices, it is increasingly important to ensure that we have ‘analogue’ time. That is, unconnected. Real footprints, not digital footprints. Conversing face-to-face, eating, playing, kissing, hugging, loving…and all the things we do which are not connected to something that has no soul. A walk through a wood in the autumn (Fall) awakens all the senses – few of our senses are used when connected to the digital world via a computer or device.

There is no question that the digital world is a large part of our future. But the ‘analogue’ world of our past has a vital role to play in our future too. Children must not be left to ‘their own devices’ as quite literally that is what they will all too often revert to – their digital devices. Games consoles, phones, laptops, and other ‘gadgets’. But, are we as adults so much better? What are we losing from the pre-digital days? This blog will take a personal view, that we are in danger of losing so much from the ‘old fashioned’ world before computers and connectivity – but that we are not realising and taking action as individuals and as a society.

Digital (at-work) vs. Analogue (off-work); balance?

It is ‘half-term’ again here in Cambridgeshire, UK. The children are off school for a week. My wife works in schools, so she is also off for the week. The snow is still on the ground, but it has started to turn to ‘slush’ – its cold and dank outside.

Why is that relevant? Because (a) you may well be ‘enjoying’ the same week, and (b) it makes me think about a “digital versus analogue” life….a choice that my children do not really understand. We have four children, aged 14 down to 9 years, and clearly they have all grown up in the ‘digital world’. Two have a good balance between ‘digital and analogue’…the other two, frankly, do not – it’s a struggle to get them off their various devices. Does that matter?

As a parent, and more generally as a member of society I grew up on the ‘cusp’ of computers in daily life (yes, we had the ZX Spectrum, then in the year that I left, our school received its first batch of PC’s – the BBC Model B with its 64k RAM….BASIC was the language…..and basic it certainly was!!) This means that I remember most of my childhood in Analogue-only. And great it was. We lived on/off our bicycles, going off to find new places – country lanes, rivers, hills and woods. Or playing football for hours until it got dark, “jumpers for goalposts”, before football lost its soul. But, it was all good, clean, and above all health fun – in body of course, getting some exercise – but I would say also in mind. I still go for a long walk with my dogs to ‘clear my mind’ or just to get fresh air. Does it matter that people do not do this so much today?

There is no doubt that our digital world has enriched our lives. It has enriched my life hugely. I have met people whom I would otherwise have never met (mostly on Linkedin), shared discussions with them on Groups, and some I have been able to meet, especially through CoreNet Summits.  I also benefit from being able to enjoy my analogue life, BECAUSE we can work from home using digital technologies.

Should we enforce some ‘analogue’ living though? We have no computers in bedrooms for a start, so they have to get out of that darkened pit of stuff-everywhere that is a teenage bedroom! But more generally in life, what is good for your kids is probably also good for all of us in adult life? To get out and have an analogue life – achieve a balance between digital (at work) and analogue (off-work)….?

I don’t have the answers, but I have collected up the devices, into my study…and kicked the kids out to play like we used to do! Two have gone gladly, one reluctantly, and one is still thinking….but he is 14, and so “you can’t tell me what to do”…even if it IS for the greater good!

Do you have a healthy digital vs analogue balance? If so, how? If not, does it matter? Interested to know…..

Take Care,

Paul  http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulcarder ; paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com

St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, UK