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Being smart in the digital age

Anyone who works and studies from home knows there’s a significant amount of self-discipline required in meeting goals and deadlines.

Internet, prepare to be on the defense.

These days, I work strictly from my tablet and smart phone, which have everything to help me do my job and manage life. I have web browsers, word processing programs, online banking apps, news sources, texting, Facetime, Skype audio and video chat, YouTube access, iMovie capabilities and much more. I even have a scanner app to take me back to my old newsroom days when I had an uncanny knack for hearing breaking news developments as they took place in real-time. Not that I really ever use it. Unless maybe if local traffic is affected or there has been a major incident involving the law.

Once a reporter, always a reporter, I guess.

Technology in the digital age helps us all sync together toward common business goals, seamlessly transfer content, virtually brainstorm ideas and all-around become more organized. Documents can be created between teams while edits and input are tracked and changes shared between multiple users. I ghostwrite blogs for clients on a range of topics and post the content from anywhere. That could be at an airport, waiting for an appointment or riding in a car. Wireless Internet has revolutionized business in how we access and communicate with each other, and ultimately meet our goals and deadlines.

Enter: Trivia Crack.

For those unfamiliar, this aptly-named mobile app is the 2010s’ answer to Trivial Pursuit. And all things addictive. Back in the 1980s, the pop culture board game tested our knowledge of geography, entertainment, history, arts and literature, science and nature, and sports and leisure. The more blue, pink, yellow, brown, green and orange pies we collected on family game nights, the smarter we became.

At least it felt that way.

Today, our smart phones fill that role of game playing. Some might say we’ve become smarter and more business savvy through automation. Others consider our total reliance on technology as more of a crutch, making us quite the opposite of savvy. Or smart.

I admit I’m somewhere in the middle.

Of course I secretly long for the days when we didn’t have to be completely accessible at all hours, available to answer IMs, texts, calls and e-mails immediately like today’s fast-paced world demands. One of my best memories of life out west is spending six days out of pocket rafting on the San Juan River with no way for anyone outside of the trip to be in contact. All I was responsible for was taking in the awe-inspiring nature around me and being part of the total teamwork required to make a multi-day raft trip happen.

It’s truly amazing how a river trip can change our perspective.

The hard truth, though, is that without the technology my tablet and smart phone afford, I doubt I’d have a career as a freelance writer. I haven’t met many editors or business owners these days who accept hand-written, or even typed, content sent via snail mail. No one has time for that, and they never will again. Unless we go back to the days of telegrams and typewriters on “Downton Abbey.”

I definitely don’t see that happening.

All business aside, the way we interact socially will likely not go back to the good old days of intimate Roaring ’20s gatherings or Trivial Pursuit parties with the neighbors like in 1984. Internet-focused mentality, including popular mobile apps like Trivia Crack and Words with Friends (a more current, digital take on the beloved board game Scrabble), allow us to be connected without technically being so. We can interact and play against competitors and friends from around the globe. Even a few doors down. And, for me, against my boyfriend while he’s sitting right next to me on the couch.

Yes, I just admitted that.

Shamelessly, I’m in Words with Friends- and Trivia Crack-addiction mode to the extent I must self-discipline my usage on a daily basis. This requires a considerable amount of talking to myself in a stern mom voice and withholding leftover Valentine’s chocolates stashed in the closet until my work is done. Sure, I might learn new facts about geography, history, arts and sports from Trivia Crack. And my mid-life mind may stay sharper playing Words with Friends. But I’m well aware playing Internet games all day is not going to pay my bills. Unless I figure out how to be some type of mobile app tester-from-home for a living.

With wireless, anything is possible.

April E. Clark has never played Candy Crush. That’s probably for the best. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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