Saturday, July 28, 2012

Defined by the technology I use

Photo courtesy of

What Kevin Kelly (2009) says about ethnic technology resonates with me and perhaps explains my behaviour. He examines examples where primitive cultures do not adopt technologies at the same time, at the same rate even then they live in close proximity to each other, even though these technologies may be more efficient that what is being used.
“ Technologies have a social dimension beyond their mere mechanical performance.  We adopt new technologies largely because of what they do for us, but also in part because of what they mean to us. Often we refuse to adopt technology for the same reason: because of how the avoidance reinforces, or crafts our identity”(Kelly, 2009 para.8). I can imagine that in some of the examples that Kelly gives of they types of traps that are set, that not using a specific type, even if effective, is a statement of identity. It is them that use that type, not us.
He goes on to suggest that,“in the modernized west, our decisions about technology are not made by the group, but by individuals. We choose what we want to adopt, and what we don’t. So on top of the ethnic choice of technologies a community endorses, we must add the individual layer of preference. We announce our identity by what stuff we use or refuse”(Kelly, 2009 para.10). This is so true. My use or non-use of technology helps define who I am.
  • I am a Linux user, mainly because of my partner's influence on me. I don't use Microsoft or Apple products, although a times it can be more difficult to avoid these.
  • I don't have a mobile phone. This is a choice as I don't want to be in contact with people all of the time. I like having times that I am not contactable. And sometime it would be nice to contact my husband when he goes shopping to add something extra to the shopping list, however I have to rely on my powers of telepathy and try and let him know what I have forgotten off the list :)
  • I have an e-reader, as it is practical for me as a prolific reader to be able to load multiple books onto a devise. However more than likely I read a pbook (print book) as I like the experience of reading a book, the smell of paper, and the sharing of reading experiences on trains where people can see what you are reading by the cover.
  • I don't have TV. Well, this is not technically true, we have a TV (not a flatscreen), but we don't tune it, and just use it to watch DVD. However with the Olympic Games about to begin, I may get a set top box just to get into the Aussie spirit.
  • I love my computer and that it gives my access to the online world. I  have a laptop that I can take places with me, so I can connect anywhere. The first thing I do in the morning is to check my emails and my social networking sites, particularly Facebook to see what has been happening overnight. It is also the first thing I do when I come home from anywhere, and I check in multiple times during the day.
  • I sent emails, but I love letters. Some days I can't wait for the postman to come, even though most of our snail mail is bills and impersonal letters. The experience of walking the short distance to the mailbox, in the hope that there is that golden gem of personal mail, is like walking on sunshine.

I use the technology that is useful to me, that I enjoy, and that feels comfortable and works for me. I select which technology I want, when I want it, and how I want it. I am a selective adopter of technology.

Kelly, Kevin. (2009) Ethnic technology. Retrieved from

1 comment:

  1. Hello fellow Linux user. Nice to see someone else who appreciates Linux. I think the tribe that is Linux users is a great example of how we are defined by the technology we use. Unfortunately, as I have just upgraded my laptop, I cannot find wireless drivers for it so I am having to play in Windows 7 for the time being. I like the fact that as a Linux user I am considered a bit on the fringe by Windows users.