Deconstruction: My Well-Connected Life
By the time you read this article, my sparkly diamond engagement ring will have been sent special delivery via FEDEX. Given the popularity of BlueNile.com and the underground following of UnionDiamond.com, our jeweler of choice, this purchase may not be revolutionary. But Robert, my fiancé, knows that for me, a recovering technology laggard (in other words, one of the folks who are still jamming to portable CD players at the gym), this is mind-blowing. Okay, I'm not that bad - I do own an iPod shuffle.
Still, the mere idea of this transaction, which comes to about the price of a brand new compact car, would once have caused me to break out in hives. But the last few years have changed me, and slowly but surely I've become more comfortable with tiny phones, tinier music players and, yes, even online jewelers. (If you had told me a couple of years ago that the convenience of having FindMyJeweler.com locate the jeweler who had the exact stone I was looking for would outweigh any perceived e-commerce risk, I'd have called you crazy.)
There's a word for what's happened to me: I've been technomorphed. In other words, like millions of other Americans, I'm finding myself adapting to the "warp-speed technological change" that is impacting every part of our everyday lives.
It seems like just yesterday when I spent several excruciating hours (yes, hours!) downloading huge, graphic-packing presentations over a dial-up Internet connection. Fast-forward four years and look at me with my preferred computer, an Apple iBook, and sometimes my work-issued pc laptop, BlackBerry and cell phone constantly in tow. Coupled with wireless Internet, printer and scanner, these portable connectors keep me well-connected, and ready to go even when I am hundreds of miles away. Herein lies the essence of the technomorph phenomenon: Any garden-variety luddite can be seduced by digital technology's one-two punch of convenience and ubiquity.
But the road to complete technomorphing, while steep, is often traveled so quickly that you don't even know you've started to change until you've blithely hit the "purchase" button on a diamond order (the ultimate manifestation of my own transformation). Here, then, are some guideposts to help you chart your position on the inevitable road towards a digitized lifestyle.
The 5 Signs That You Have Been Technomorphed:
>> Open Table for 2? Unless there is stupendous word-of-mouth about a new restaurant, there is only a small chance that you will check it out. If it's not on OpenTable.com, you're probably not going.
>> Travel heavy. Ever shot icy stares at the guy behind you in the airport security line when he absent-mindedly mistook your second laptop tray for his own? Hello! Doesn't he know that hard-core technomorphs travel with two laptops?
>> Al Who? You were once a "Today Show" fan, if only to see Al Roker forecast the weather with a smile. Now weather.com is your morning pal, with an hourly, daily, 10-day and even monthly weather forecast in seconds.
>> Me and My Shadow. The daily dilemma of deciding whether to take your laptop with you to the hair salon, mall or um, car wash? You never know what the day might entail, so you might as well be productive - or at least entertained.
>> Lights. Camera. Action. Who knew Garage Band and iMovie could be such fun. Today, your film debut at your family reunion. Tomorrow - Sundance!
If you saw yourself in any part of the above list, give up, reader, it's too late -you're well on your way to being fully technomorphed. It's a new world, and I admit that it can be scary to the uninitiated. But it does have its advantages (just ask my left hand).
So before I move on to send bachelorette party e-vites from my BlackBerry, and PayPal the wedding planner, let me leave you with some straightforward advice: To remain competitive in business - really, in all aspects of life - we are obliged to embrace the changes taking place around us. The way we communicate with each other on every level is transforming, and if you don't change with it, you'll be less than a luddite - you'll just be left behind. In other words, technomorph or you're out of the wedding.
Kendra Hatcher is senior vice president, contextual planning, at MediaVest. (firstname.lastname@example.org)