I love my iPhone. So much. But when cell phones first exploded, I used to ridicule the very idea of having internet on a phone. What a silly idea. (Remember when just pushing “up” on your flip-phone’s keypad would start connecting you, and would cost you, like $5, even if you undid it immediately? Grr!)

When the Kindle first emerged, I was angry – actual, hot, don’t-talk-to-me angry. I had wanted to write a book my entire life. This was going to ruin everything. All I’d be able to do now is write a stupid digital file. Today, if you see me leaving the house without my iPad, there’s a good chance my house is on fire.

I am a true, deep fan of social media, but my husband had to drag me on to Twitter, which I now feel is my real online home. I won’t touch Google+. Honestly, I don’t see that one changing. (Sorry, Google. I love Gmail – does that help?)

Contently, I love you.
Contently, I love you.

The emotions we attach to new technology and innovations are strong and personal. It’s funny, the networks and gadgets we immediately embrace, for whatever reason, and those we resist. I tried to pretend like ebooks and Twitter didn’t exist for the longest time because I couldn’t see myself in them. In the case of ebooks, I saw myself obstructed by them – foiled. Twitter felt like an intimidating world built on a whole new language I didn’t understand.

By contrast, when I caught word of Contently, a new online marketplace for writers and publishers, I jumped right in. As a freelance journalist, already swimming in the deep end of digital media, it wasn’t just that I could see myself in Contently, I had been waiting for it. Diving in as an early adopter literally paid off; I regularly contribute to Forbes.com; I’ve written for Slate; so far this year, a third of my income has come directly through Contently.

Ebooks freaked me out because I couldn't see my vision for my career in them. Now, look! I can literally see myself in one. Sorry for being a jerk, ebooks - you win!
Ebooks freaked me out because I couldn’t see my vision for my career in them. Now, look! I can literally see myself in one. Sorry for being a jerk, ebooks – you win!

Now that I have finally come around to them, Twitter and ebooks, in different ways, are part of the reason I can do what I do. I’m so grateful they exist, because without them, what I do every day, and what I hope to do for the rest of my life, couldn’t exist.

This doesn’t mean we should or shouldn’t be totally in love with every new thing because we’re eventually going to love it. We aren’t (see: my feelings on Google+). But every time Gmail forces us to compose differently or the internet breaks with excitement over six-second videos or Google Glass suddenly exists, maybe we could be a little less cranky. I mean, I could be less cranky about it.

Because, who knows? Maybe we could see ourselves in those things. It’s definitely worth the energy to imagine the possibility. Because maybe those things, or the next things, will totally change our lives.

One thought on “Holding On, Letting Go, Embracing New: An emotional dance with technology

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