My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Technology Changing Our Lives!

What are computers doing to us and has it changed our lives? As technology change . . . . we find our lives evolving into a world where it is almost impossible to live without a computer. We are now paying all our bills online, ordering movies online (netflix) and our primary way of communicating with friends is online (hello . . . I am a blogger). Ten years ago, I would have never thought “this” is what our world would be like that we lived in! This morning I saw a post from Tonia on insomnia and for some reason her post has been on my mind all day long (which has involved into this post). Before computers took over my life. . . I never had any problems sleeping and I was always awake before the birds started singing! I find it harder and harder each day trying to fall asleep, which has resulted in the desire to sleep longer! Do I have insomnia or is it my many hours of being on the computer just screwing with my brain??

a flickr mobile Self-portrait
That’s me checking flickr through my phone!

Another technological change is how we find information! If you want the answer to anything, you just google it! Ok, we don’t google everything but only a few years ago I would spend hours and hours looking for an answer in my library. One journal would lead me to the next journal and then I would be off to the next journal article! If you were lucky . . . you would find the article that helped answer your question and maybe you might ask another question (then do the whole process over again)! Today, all I need to do is a quick search in SORA (Searchable Ornithological Research Archive) and within second I have a pdf of every article that mentions “the bird song of the Northern Parula”! I took me forever to build my research library into something that any naturalist would be proud to own but have our libraries become useless over night?

Photo of me and my library; by Jennimi

I like to think that I promote on this blog the importance of being outside and enjoying nature (in all forms)! Reality check is that I need to be listening to my own words and spend more time with nature than worrying about my stats or any new updates in my RSS feed! I have also started reading (with a real book) before going to bed and it has greatly helped my eyes (and brain) settle down before falling asleep! Yes, I have started waking up early again but instead of going for a hike (like I use to), I now check my email or anything new that is in my RSS feeds! I guess changing back doesn’t happen over night! It is important to remember that although technology has changed how we live . . . we still need to connect with the important times away from the computer! ~ The hardest part is admitting to our obsession and actually starting to remember what our priorities really are!  With those times away from the computer . . . . we will have many more great things to blog about!

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30 responses

  1. Monarch Tom: Don’t be a slave to your computer! I know exactly what you mean! I have never been on the computer as much as I have now that I’m blogging. I’m not complaining, but I have noticed since staring at this bright flickering box, I’m really wired when I get off! I love all my nature friends as do you, but it takes hours to go through all the posts.
    You’re so nice to reply to all the comments you receive, I just hope you don’t burn out!
    You’re a popular butterfly…don’t burn your wings, find tranquility back in nature and do what you need to….to be whole.

    29 February 2008 at 11:07 pm

  2. @ Chicago – don’t worry . . . I am not going anywhere and instead of being online after work for 8 hours . . . maybe I will be online for 7 or 6 hours! LOL! Thanks for your encouraging words my friend!

    29 February 2008 at 11:10 pm

  3. winterwoman

    Well said, Tom! Recognizing and admitting your addiction is the first step to recovery! LOL! I use my blog to help me learn… by writing about what I find out there, it helps me keep the things I’m learning from disappearing from my gray matter. I also like reading others’ blogs to get ideas for what to look for on my next walk… But it’s good to keep it all in perspective!

    29 February 2008 at 11:22 pm

  4. Thanks Jen and you know that I almost quoted you on “blogging isn’t a competition” but didn’t work it in! O, wait I just did!

    29 February 2008 at 11:28 pm

  5. Nice library! It is true just about everything can be found on the internet. The last few years we just got rid of most of our books and magazines. There is very little in them that we can’t look up again on the internet.

    I stopped checking my stats. It started off as fun and interesting but then became stressful. It is silly because I’m not selling anything so who cares. 🙂

    1 March 2008 at 1:18 am

  6. It’s nice to see you smile.

    1 March 2008 at 1:52 am

  7. Lisa at Greenbow

    Mon@rch, I think this time of year we all tend to hang on the computer for longer periods of time. When the weather is more hospitable we will all be outside enjoying nature for longer periods of time…and sleeping better for it. Part of the computer obsession is probably just time forced inside.

    I do love the ability to google questions and find answers. Especially about nature. Our local library is terribly lacking in nature field guides, resourses and literature. I still like the ‘feel’ of having a field guide in my hand when studying bugs etc.

    I am thinking that this computer is a good tool. I just hate when it crashes so I have become leary of it. It sure has changed our lives. Just look at all the wonderful people that you meet here. People with some of the same passions for nature etc. I think this is so enriching. In your line of work you run into lots of people like this but this suburban housewife doesn’t get that opportunity. It is like the whole world has its widow open waiting for me to pop by for a chat about my favorite subjects.

    Now doesn’t this just get you to thinking about where else technology will take us?? I just can’t imagine.

    1 March 2008 at 6:05 am

  8. “Hi, my name is Pam, and I’m a computer addict.” Yup, I’ll admit it, I’m hooked, too. Like you, I have been trying to get away from it, even though it talks to me as it sits there with its lid shut while I’m reading a book.
    Ohhhhh, libraries are soooooo not obsolete!! (I keep telling myself that). I love books and I hope they never, ever go away!
    And I’ve been thinking lately about *why* I blog and it isn’t for the stats and comments, otherwise I’d have lots of work to do!!

    1 March 2008 at 8:05 am

  9. We have all been there, we all do it, and yes it is an addiction. Argh
    But I don’t know what I would do some days without my blogging friends. Balance. I keep trying to find balance.
    And some days I have to tell myself it is ok not to blog or skip commenting on every post. But I read them all at some point. Meditating helps me get through the day and sleep at night.

    1 March 2008 at 8:52 am

  10. There aren’t easy answers. Computers open as many doors as they cause problems (I love mixing my metaphors). To me, the answer is — as with most things in life — to find a balance between the good and bad things in computer world.

    Just as my husband and I banned the TV from the bedroom, I think keeping computers away from the bedroom is also a good plan. I read for at least a few minutes every night at bedtime to settle my brain. It works well.

    1 March 2008 at 9:02 am

  11. @ Linda – thanks and if it isn’t on the web yet . . it will be soon! I am just not ready yet to get rid of my books/journals but my biggest worry is what will happen to them!
    @ Nina – thanks
    @ Lisa – I agree with you but even in the summer I end up going to be later trying to catch up because I am outside! Isn’t good at all! I have to agree with the computer being a good tool but it sure does make me think what will happen in many years! Heck . . . many have DVD’s in there vehicles and talking about wireless broadband everywhere!
    @ Pam – It isn’t easy and all it takes is doing something and coming home late to throw you behind for days!
    @ Toni – I have to believe many of my viewers here have this problem! I find days where I say it is fine not to post something!
    @ Liz – they sure do but without a doubt we need to balance! No TV in the bedroom is easy since I only own one TV and within a year I will not even have the two free tv channels that I get now! Then I am in the dilemma of getting cable or have not tv (and only watch online my fave shows)!

    1 March 2008 at 9:43 am

  12. Brad W

    Good post and something to think deeply on….

    I think part of the problem lies in the immediacy of the tools we use. For instance, if I had chosen to comment on this entry a week from now, very few would view it. Despite the fact that our postings are available through tags and archives is the daily “fix” that drives the blogosphere. Your traffic is built on not just quality (which in your case is excellent) but on the consistency of posting or quantity. This is no different in some respect to the old, print media-based publishing world it is just sped up exponentially. Of course this pace of knowledge sharing is further enhanced with the interactivity with the readers which increases the sense of urgency. It’s the speed of the turnaround and the need to feed the cycle–not the quantity of posting that is the problem.


    1 March 2008 at 10:21 am

  13. I think you hit the nail on the head WRT sleep – read a book or listen to a good album before bed. I have started trying to be more mindful of what I do in the hour or two before bed, and it definitely makes a difference if I’m watching TV (or blogging, or worse, both!) vs. reading a book. I was reading something the other day along these exact same lines. A cup of (decaf, of course!) herbal tea works well for me as well, as does a little meditation.

    The key, I think, is to take some time away from the barrage of information and input we receive all day long, especially online & via the other media, and let the monkey-mind calm down before trying to sleep.

    1 March 2008 at 10:50 am

  14. I was an addict for a while, but somehow that has stopped. I’m not sure what happened, but my brain decided it had had enough of all the words words words. It may have had something to do with living on the coast for the winter. The view out the window was so overwhelmingly beautiful all the time, it seemed a shame to ever look away. So, the computer became much less important. Now, I check a few blogs in the morning and the news, then I close my laptop for the day. It is incredibly liberating.

    1 March 2008 at 11:16 am

  15. @ Brad – thanks and you would be amazed at how many of my older post get looked at. I myself use the online publications way more than I do in my own personal library!
    @ Adam – Glad to hear that the book works for your also! My goal needs to be making sure that I stick to taking some time before bed!
    @ Robin – not sure how you were able to stop! I don’t think that I could do that! Thanks for sharing and congrats on being able to balance.

    1 March 2008 at 4:07 pm

  16. Tom!!! Argghhhhh! You’re right! We’re hooked! It is such a mixed blessing – this internet thing. I mean we wouldn’t have discovered you and your pictures and shared the wonderful adventures without it.

    (Nor seen the incredible picture of your library)

    I don’t sleep as well either. Confession: I stream Cspan In Depth interviews in the middle of the night.

    {{ Yawwwnnnnn}}

    1 March 2008 at 7:10 pm

  17. It is amazing how much a little update in technology can make a once hard task ten times easier!

    1 March 2008 at 8:21 pm

  18. Tom, this is a wonderful post. Before blogging and before home PC’s, I accomplished so much more in one day. It’s a love-hate relationship us addicts have with our computers these days and I don’t think it’s good. We need to balance our lives. I spend all day at work staring at a computer screen and another two hours every evening – sometimes more. My eyes are CONSTANTLY BLOODSHOT. What’s wrong with us? LOL! Seriously, you made a very good point. Get away from it sometimes and rest.

    1 March 2008 at 8:45 pm

  19. I totally understand where your coming from – I try to get in it everyday. (Unless the weather tells me that it’s a huge mistake.) I’m pretty lucky tho (like you) I just walk out my front door and there is nothing but nature as far as the eye can see. I’m a little bummed about your library. I myself wander into our local little one just to remind myself of that musty smell that can only come from a library. p.s. I had to do the book thing myself. :o) No more late night comments. Later I have no clue what I wrote….

    1 March 2008 at 9:52 pm

  20. @ Cathy – aww, thanks and it is about sharing! Thanks and don’t have a TV or cable to watch C-Span but do listen to NPR, but that doesn’t always help! After 1am the BBC talks all night and it can be very interesting at times!
    @ J – it sure does but we just need to learn not to be behind it all the time and enjoy nature more!
    @ Mary – thanks and I really need to work on balancing between the two! Only 2 hours in the evening? Rest and enjoying nature would help with your eyes! BTW: loved your bluebird photos today!
    @ aullori – maybe I need to get my computer outside?? Only kidding but we do need to spend more time out side! No worries and I am always working on that musty smell! LOL . . . but it is nice sometimes to smell! Happy Sleeping!
    @ Coollikeme – don’t mistake me that it is changing for the better but the point I am trying to get across is that we can’t be caught up with it and there is a need for us to continue to balance the time we are on it! I know I have to! Look it’s almost 11:30 and I am still on this thing!

    1 March 2008 at 11:26 pm

  21. Cestoady

    Addictions can lead to serious consequences in our lives,as you have apparently discovered. When that happens it is time to take stock of one’s life style and decide what changes must be made to get back on track.
    Computers are great, but when they begin to dominate our lives and affect our health so that one can not sleep, then it is time to sit down, make a priority list of what is really important in life — then act on it , and make the necessary changes so that one can sleep soundly. Otherwise, the addiction will eat you alive !!

    1 March 2008 at 11:44 pm

  22. I always tried birding before I turn in at night, namely Wild Turkey on ice, if you know what I mean 🙂

    2 March 2008 at 12:23 am

  23. My wife suggested we spend one evening a week without switching on the computers. The idea is to go into another room with a collection of books and magazines and read.

    So we read and maybe we get talking, and there is some piece of information we/I just have to have there and then … and google beckons … “come to me, come to me” it calls – “turn me on and learn”.

    Oh yes, I know the feeling, Tom. 🙂

    2 March 2008 at 2:49 am

  24. @ Cestoady – I am trying but it isn’t easy! Thanks for your encouragement!
    @ Bernie – it is tough birding before bed since it isn’t dark till 5 – 5:30. But do hear what you are saying! 🙂 Thanks!
    @ David – I saw something on TV not that long ago where someone as doing that. It is a great idea but my main thing right now is just backing off for a few hours! It does call you back, that’s for sure! Thanks

    2 March 2008 at 10:46 am

  25. Mel

    Sweeeeet library! I envy you 😉
    I have to confess that since I discovered the blogger’s life I’m addicted, not so much on posting but on reading posts of fellow bloggers, trying to learn new stuff.
    Sadly, for me, most posts relate to birds I have no chance to look for (yet), so, sometimes I feel like a total outsider 😦
    Good thing that most bloggers passionate about nature are really great persons and keep me smiling 🙂
    For me, technology is basicly the only mean to learn indoors, no money for fancy guides, books or reports, no time for public libraries, visits to universities or interviews with experts, so, Internet has basicly become my main source.
    I know what you mean with insomnia, wish you lot of nights of grear sleep!

    2 March 2008 at 5:09 pm

  26. I’m STILL amazed at today’s technology, myself! My husband always laughs when I say, “Thank God for the internet!”. 🙂

    2 March 2008 at 6:13 pm

  27. @ Mel – thanks and it is easy to fall into this bloggers life! Glad we have connected because you have a great site! Although I don’t know many of your birds!
    @ Lisa – thanks and it is amazing for sure! LOL

    2 March 2008 at 10:11 pm

  28. A thought-provoking post, Tom. I have cut back on my computer time (a little bit…..) but it’s been one of the things that’s kept me going through this long, cold Minnesota winter. I love being able to connect with my friends out in blog land and also learning new things through “googling.”
    However, once (if?) the weather warms up and the days get longer, my computer will be shut down for much longer periods of time while I’m outside playing in the dirt or watching birds & butterflies.

    3 March 2008 at 9:12 pm

  29. Tom, I know what you mean. It used to be that you went to bed with a book and maybe watched the news before falling asleep. Now, the laptop comes into bed for some Flickr browsing before sleep, or I grab the iPhone to answer any little question that comes up between Shari and I (“Wait – what was the name of that poem … the one that talks about getting 2 quarters instead of a dollar because 2 is more than 1?” <– yes, a real situation).

    Sometimes I wonder how much easier it would be to unplug more often and spend more time outside … I might just have to try it this spring.

    4 March 2008 at 6:37 pm

  30. lvn600

    I know what you mean Tom.-That is why I’ve decided to only post twice a week or so. Otherwise I spend too much time at the computer. there is still something special about having things in print and that is one impressive library!

    4 March 2008 at 7:40 pm

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