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Keeping our eyes on the prize

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I had a conversation recently about how technology is advancing and how there are new developments every day that make it almost impossible for us to keep up with everything. Now, with the New York Rider Magazine App just announced, it got me thinking about how absolutely awesome that is, but also about all the things that have led up to this point in our lives—where almost everything is contained in of all places, our phones.

I grew up in the 70’s and while I’m open to many things, my mind still longs for the simplicity of writing letters and waiting for a reply in the mail, or anticipating a phone call from a friend instead of a text message. The evolution of communication technology is amazing and I think wonderful! I don’t agree with some critics of social media who believe that Facebook de-personalizes relationships. On the contrary, I believe my world has expanded tenfold through Facebook. Indeed, valuable friendships can be at least begun through Facebook, where individual paths might otherwise never have crossed.

But of course there is a price to pay.

Every new click represents one less in-person interaction. Suddenly, the keyboard commandos come out and people who would never confront each other face to face are battling it out on the computer screen, and often, for all to see, for what I’ve come to call “Face-fighting.” You have a group of friends going out to dinner and right after they put their orders in, the cell phones come out and they retreat into their phones, occasionally looking up to join the conversation, IF there is a conversation. What about your family get-togethers? How much do you see of your nieces and nephews after they say hello? If they’re like mine, I bet they find some seat in a corner and visit with their cell phones the rest of the day. In fact, if you didn’t keep hearing the sound of their text message notifications, you’d never even know they were there.

As bikers, we complain about the dangers of cell phone use by drivers on the road, but our own self-imposed distractions can be just as dangerous.

Next time you spend time with someone—anyone—put the phone away! Look at each other! Talk! You will realize what you’ve been missing while you were pressing buttons. We need each other more than we need cell phones. Sure, no doubt there is a lot of value to be found with the future of technology and state-of-the-art communication, but the real prize is that living, breathing, human being right in front of you. Keep your eyes on the real prize, before it’s too late.

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