Disconnected in a Connected World

Technology is changing at an astounding pace.  Let’s take a look at the past 30 years. Information is so much more accessible than it has ever been.  You don’t have to go to the card catalog in the library to find microfiche and look up data.  You don’t have to go look something up in the Encyclopedia Britannica.  Everything you want to know is at your fingertips on your mobile device within a matter of seconds.  You can Google something and find whatever information you need.

Disconnected in a Connected World

You don’t have to sit around to catch live TV.  You don’t have to have your VCR or BetaMax on standby to catch the latest epsiode of your favorite TV show.  No, TV is on demand.  Most of it you can get on Netflix, Amazon, or an affiliate website.  You can fast forward through every commercial and the parts of a show that don’t interest you.

You don’t need to know your multiplication or addition anymore.  A calculator on your cell phone will always keep you in check.

You certainly don’t need to develop film. With Flickr or Facebook or Instagram and your digital camera can do just about everything you want it to do.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago when digital pictures became available.

What about Music?  A record getting scratched was the end of the world.  Now we have everything on our iPod, Android, or computer.

You don’t need a newspaper.  Everything you possibly need is on Yahoo or Google.  It will keep you up to date.

All this technology is great.  We are better people because of it, right?

Hmm.. Good question.

I have got to tell you that I have never felt so disconnected in a connected world.  I bought into the philosophy that technology has helped us as a society.  With social media and technology we are becoming lazy.  Sometimes, I feel like it makes us dumber.

Do you remember getting letters? The other day I was digging through some old pictures and found a postcard from my grandfather that he sent me when I was 7 years old. Now, we get e-mails that we so easily discard once our event is over.  A handwritten letter is something we just don’t get anymore.

So, where am I going with all of this?  We are all becoming used to our routines.  Get up, go to work, come home, spend time with your family, and have a little time for downtime.  Sound familiar?

I have recently stopped getting a newspaper, I use XM radio, I watch Netflix at night with no commercial interruptions and am on Facebook or Twitter and communicate online or text.

I  had completely cut myself off on what was going on in the world.  No news was available on Netflix or XM and I was too consumed with my “routine”.

Social Media is a platform for us to use along with Technology.  I for one am never going to cut off a subscirption to a newspaper ever again and a phone call, a handwritten letter, are going to be my new “routines”.

HR professionals need to think about this for a minute.  We are in the people business.  Even though we get caught up in the technology side of what we do, staying current means engagement.   It means understanding what other companies are doing, what your employees are saying, and what has and hasn’t worked.   You can use techology, but don’t forget how the old fashioned way of doing things that have stood the test of time.

I am going to ask you, is technology and social media making you dumb?

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Will Thomson

Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the global sales and marketing recruiter. He has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years. He has recruited some of the most sought-after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry. Connect with Will.

Reader Interactions


  1. Stephanie Hammerwold says

    Nice post. I agree. I love all that technology can do to make work more efficient and how we have easy access to loads of information, but I often find myself craving non-tech ways of connecting with other people and the world. That’s why I still love handwritten letters from friends and paper books. Both are a good way to disconnect for a little bit. I also think it’s important for those of us in HR to remember how valuable face-to-face contact is when interacting with candidates and employees.

  2. Joe says

    When you are sitting in a restaurant waiting for a service all you can think is how great it would have been if you just ordered a pizza delivery, sit in front of your laptop and watch something while you are eating it. Does this worry you? Off course it does. Next thing I am thinking is lucky me because I am not the owner of this restaurant.

    The funny thing is nobody in your family complains when you are in your corner doing your own thing because they are in their corner doing their own thing on their laptop. They look at you as if you are a weirdo if you suggest you should do something together. Does it sound like grumpy old man?



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