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The Virtue and Vice of Technology, part 1

October 17, 2012, 4 Comments

“The smart phone I carry in my pocket has more computing power than the computers that landed the first men on the moon.”

I suspect that the above statement is true. At least, I read it on the Internet so it must be. Right?

I find the technological advances in our world to be filled with both virtue and vice. Like any tool, it can be used to help or become a distraction to harm. My laptop, iPhone, Kindle, and all of the rest normally serve as a huge help to me. It is no different than the circular saw at my workbench. Given the right circumstance, it is the perfect tool for the job. It cuts a straight line, saves me time, and requires less physical effort. But, if used improperly, it can kill me. Literally. Really, you should see how close I’ve come on several occasions.

Technology and its implements are nothing more than tools. So, we should be wise to manipulate them in such a fashion.

Today, I’ll briefly describe about how I use them to my advantage and in part two I’ll deal with how they can become a hindrance.

For the most part, my use of technology can be divided into five categories:

  1. Information consumption
  2. Content production
  3. Personal interaction
  4. Work management
  5. Entertainment

 

Information consumption

One of my university professors said in the early 1990s that we receive more information in one day’s edition of the New York Times than a person would receive in their entire lifetime during the early 1800s. (I’m not sure this is true but it is a great sound bite for a lecture… or a blog post.) The impact of the statement is magnified when dealing with our current technology.

Each day, I begin by finding information that will help me accomplish my work. Through a series of blogs, news sites, and other website, I gather information. For my work (publishing and ministry), I key off of those who are thought leaders, news mavens, industry change agents, and theologians. It is an eclectic search for information that begins early and continues throughout the day.

My favorite place of information consumption: Huffington Post

 

Content production

I love ideas that lead to action. Part of my work is the production of content that enables people to move forward. I produce content for blogs, magazines, conferences, leadership training, and sermons. Additionally, I write original book content and edit on occasion. Word processing programs are essential to my life. Like many, it is through computer-based programs such as Word, Keynote, and Google Docs. However, content production is no longer just long-form (like books and articles). Content development happens in the social media world as well. It is done through text outlets (Facebook and Twitter) and through visual art (Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and even YouTube). You can find me in some of those places as well.

My favorite tool: Keynote

 

Personal interaction

And speaking of social media, I find it highly useful. (In part two, I’ll describe how I find to also be highly frustrating.) Personal interaction through technological means seems to be an oxymoronic statement. But it is not. In fact, some of my closest friends, business colleagues, and newest friends interact with me exclusively through texts, FB posts, video conferencing, and Twitter DMs.

The fast pace at which interaction can happen speeds up the above two issues of consuming information and producing content. When help is needed, it can come as fast as the megabytes can travel. And, distance is even less of a challenge. We’ve moved from postal mail to teletype to fax to email to Facetime.

My favorite tech tool: Twitter

 

Work management

At LifeWay, I am surrounded by databases. In my new role as director of adult ministry publishing, daily access to them is a necessity. The technology available to us aids in not only collecting information but also organizing it. Gmail, Google Calendar, Dropbox, and Evernote are my go-to favorites. Working in the cloud is my preferred environment of organizing work. My suspicion is that because I work at home, at church, at the office and on the road, I need technology that gives me access everywhere to information and tasks. Otherwise, the number of paper files I would have to carry would require a wheelbarrow.

My favorite management tool: Evernote

 

Entertainment

Just a word here. Technology has changed how I am entertained if for no other reason than schedule. With the advent of the VCR that could record a program while you were absent, the consumer became the master of entertainment. Now, the existence of iTunes, DVD-drives in laptops, and DVR technology, I am entertained according to my own schedule. It presents a freedom (albeit small and relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things) from the entertainment industry.

My favorite entertainment device: Comcast/Xfinity DVR

 

So what are the ways that you are using technology to better mangage your life?

What are you favorite technological tools?

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply Josh Hunt October 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Do you have the logos app? I love how you can do Greek word studies in just a few clicks.

  • Reply The Virtue and Vice of Technology, part 2 | PhilipNation.net October 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

    […] my previous post on technology, I focused on the virtue of it. At that time, I discussed the five ways that I use technology to […]

  • Reply Worth a Look 10.30.12 – Trevin Wax October 30, 2012 at 2:13 am

    […] Nation on the Virtues and Vices of Technology: I find the technological advances in our world to be filled with both […]

  • Reply Smartphones and 5 Ways to a Smart Schedule | PhilipNation.net June 3, 2013 at 6:21 am

    […] I was in a moving vehicle. As I’ve written about before, technological advances are both a blessing and a bane in our personal […]

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