The concept of digital dependence is nothing new. To me. And probably to you. I know I am tethered to my laptop, iPad and especially my iPhone more than I’d care to admit. In fact, I just had a conversation with someone recently about how my phone has literally become an appendage. But I always said I could put it down when I need to. This morning it became glaringly apparent to me that I am probably one of the worst of the digital dependence offenders. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt- I could no longer look the other way and pretend my digital addiction is not as bad as it is.
Yesterday, I upgraded to a new iPhone. My old 4S had become less-than-reliable, and given my (frightening) level of dependence, I needed a device that wouldn’t crash all the time. My shiny new 5S is much the same in form and function, and I was able to transfer my apps, e-mails, etc. over to the new phone with little difficulty, making me feel nearly whole again. But one thing that I had did have trouble transferring was my Photo Stream. Yes, I back up my phone to iCloud. I double back-up to Drop Box or Google Drive, too. And the fellow digital dependent I spoke with on the phone from Apple also suggested that I back-up onto DVD– that’s what he does.
But the idea of not having my Photo Stream on my new phone was unbearable. I felt like a child who’d lost her favorite teddy bear, her security blanket. I called Apple to resolve the problem as soon as I got out of bed (note: wait time is very short at 8 am). I spoke to Isaiah and he was so helpful; he took the time to research the best solution for me, and walked me through every step. I could feel the stress and frustration at this situation start to lift off my shoulders as we took each step towards freeing my Photo Stream from the confines of my old phone and uploading them onto my new one (with a few steps in the middle). His halo grew brighter with each photo that transferred over. As we waited for my Photo Stream to finish uploading, we chatted about the increase in number and importance of these photos with the proliferation of the smartphone camera. It allows us to capture moments we’d otherwise have to store in our own memories, rather than our digital ones. We are so dependent on preserving these images on devices; when those images weren’t available to me, I felt a true loss. When part of my digital memory was missing, part of my own memory felt lost.
Needless to say, I have backed-up and re-backed-up my photos again today. And one day, I will print them all out so I have a tangible photo collection (Just like back in the “olden days”. This is a rant for another day– that my kids won’t have the volumes of photos to peruse as I did when I was a child.) For now, they are safe. Safe on my Mac, Drop Box and Google Drive. And now on my 5S, where I can relive my memories on-the-go.
And my digital dependence a-ha moment also made me think about a couple of articles I recently read by Claire Diaz-Ortiz about taking a digital break and digital detox. I’m thinking I need to take her advice. Who’s with me?