You hear a song on the radio and it’s so very familiar. You know the words for the chorus, you even know when the epic guitar solo is about to start, but you just can’t remember who the singer is or the name of the song – the chorus hasn’t given you a clue, yet. What do you do?
In earlier days, you’d probably call someone you know who might have the answer. I was that someone for my mother. Like a lifeline on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, she banked on me to (1) answer my phone before the song ends, and (2) know my stuff. Unfortunately for her, she had too much faith in my knowledge of pop music. These days, she finds a more dependable lifeline in Shazam, the music identifying app.
Almost every aspect of my life, I manage with my smartphone. I wake up to the alarm on itand, of late, and I’ve been learning to meditate using an app called Headspace (try it, it’s number one the list when you Google search ‘ best meditation apps’). My schedule is managed with Google Calendar which takes up the main real estate on my homescreen, and I use both Uber and Grab to get to events and meetings. Fashion previews and shows are streamed direct from New York, Paris, London and Milan onto my 5.8” screen, no matter where I am. Thanks to the Internet, I’ve learnt how to cook, paint, speak foreign languages and play the ukulele, guitar and piano.
So when articles, commercials and films blame technology for all the social issues it has caused, how it divides rather than unites – I get a little irritated. Your phone isn’t the one ignoring your friends at a birthday dinner, you are.
Technology has given many people a new lifeline. Wired ran a remarkable story about photographer Jacqui Kenny Spent who, despite suffering from agoraphobia and getting panic attacks whenever she’s too far from home, has found a new way to take photographs – through Google Street View. There’s also Ibu Ndari, a 76-year-old Instagrammer (@ hermandari_kartowisastro) who shares breathtaking images of her solo travels all around the world (read her story on pg162).
And so, with this issue, we celebrate all things digital – from the influencers that we look up to, to the nifty apps and gadgets that are enhancing every aspect of our life (MC Futuristic Top 20, pg168). The Internet has given us so much (I learnt Hamlet through an online typing game when I was in my teens) and it’s simply impossible for me to imagine life without it. I definitely could no longer survive without Google search – who else is going to answer my burning questions about the sex drive of a castrated man (thanks to episode two of this season’s Game of Thrones)?
CONNECT TO DISCONNECT