Type, Type, Type!

I was typing in a chat window the other day, when I noticed that for every single chat entry from the other person, I had two or three entries, and this made me ponder why that might be. One reason is that sometimes people I am chatting with are using smart phones (the power of social media). However, for the most part it is because I am a fast typist. Yes, I do mean typist, because I do not just type fast, I can actually touch type, a skill that seems to be left behind as technology continues to advance.

If you follow my blog, you will see that I am a late bloomer and it will not surprise you that I waited to go to college until four years ago. I think college improved my speech in general, which means I communicate more precisely, and this has had some impact in how fast I type. With that said, I think my typing speed is mostly influenced by the fact that I have been typing for almost two-thirds of my life. I learned how to type, my freshman year in high school, on an electric [very clunky] Smith-Corona. Though, I knew how to type (mostly peck-type) when I graduated, it was not until I took a technical course in “Clerical Studies” that I learned how to touch type. My first office job was as a receptionist, where I did light typing, mainly letters and envelopes on typewriters. Then, I advanced into Administrative Assistant positions where, with the help of word processing software, I improved my touch type, from both dictation and handwriting. Through the progress of time, business computers advancing in functionality, and affordable computers reaching the consumer mainstream, typing became a part of my everyday life.

Even though, typing is a daily function, I rarely have the need to touch type someone else’s work anymore. Still, I have noticed that when I touch type my own work I have lost accuracy and probably speed, which makes me somewhat sad. Until recently, I had little to no need, to touch type, so it is not until then that I notice the decline of the skill. For quite a few years, I captured all my thoughts electronically; it was always from my brain onto an email, a chat box, a Word doc, an e-notepad or something of the sort. While coming to terms with the reality of the divorce, I unplugged myself from (most) technology, except my TV/DVR and dumb phone (no data). I would misplace my phone with the ringer off, and I would not find or use it for days at a time; and I was ok with that. The decision to withdraw from life, unintentionally gave me a technology detox.

I feel I need to give a point of reference, to best understand what I mean by technology detox. I was beyond dependent on technology, I was addicted. You can stop laughing now, because it WAS an addiction. I worked in the I.T. industry, during that time (and long after); I could not function without one form of techy thing or another. One can argue that the degree of my addiction was parallel to my obligation to placate the I.T. regime that ruled over me. In fairness, there was a choice; I just made the wrong one, the one that got me hooked. There was a time, that if I misplaced my smart phone, I would seriously freak out, so much so, that I would not be mentally present in what ever it was I was suppose to be doing. I had to have access to the Internet 24/7, it did not matter if it was through hardwire, Wi-Fi or data (cellular), I had to be plugged in or I would be completely lost, agitated, and could not function. It did not happen often, but I can recall moments when I had mild anxiety attacks about being unplugged from technology, hence my perception of it being an addiction.

Since rejoining the world of the living, or more accurately coming to terms with the divorce, I have had no choice but to plug back in. However, I refuse to become as dependent as I was before. Part of that resistance has manifested in doing a lot of my writing by hand, then touch typing it. This blog post is a perfect example of that process, I hand wrote my thoughts first, then typed them up here. Writing in cursive and then typing is what allowed me to observe that I was losing the touch type skill. It seems that in my effort to not be plugged in 24/7, I am reaping a two-fold benefit. First, I will improve, if not maintain my touch type skill and cursive writing. Both skills seem to be disappearing with some help from the technology dependency. Second, I will spend less time on Lappy, which is where I get sucked into and lost in the World Wide Web!

In case you are wondering, Lappy is the name of my MacBook Pro, and yes, I give names to inanimate objects. I even talk to them, if you subscribe to the principle that there is only One, then that alone deems it ok to talk to them.  Closing thoughts… my ADD has flared up and I am hungry. Oh, wait no, how about this…  Do you have a skill that is declining because it is not convenient to use, if so, do you want to lose it? If you do not, give it some thought and find a way to roll it back into your daily life. Also, UNPLUG! Even if it is for short periods, maybe start with an evening with no techy stuff, and work your way up to a whole day. I am confident you will be pleased with the results.

As always, thank you for exchanging some of your [tech] time for some of my thoughts. Leave me a comment below, or use the send a message, to share some of what is in your head.

~Laura


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