Digitalization is in full swing, all the time, sometimes without even being noticed. We are always using more digital solutions in our everyday lives and, of course, at work. Communication with business partners runs outside the office and normal office hours via email on a smartphone. Access figures of websites can be checked with an app. The status of the software development is controlled on the dashboard of a tablet computer. Technical progress simplifies our work and makes it way more comfortable in many businesses. How much of an influence digitalization has on our thoughts and behavior is not really known.
Digital everyday life
I recently read an article in which a woman explored, amongst other things, just how digital our everyday lives are and if the traditional and original is slowly saying goodbye. I reflected on my last weekend looking for digital influences and part of my everyday life that have remained digital-free zones. Because Easter is soon, I wanted to do my first preparations for the holidays on Saturday. Easter, the time to remember Christ’s resurrection in Christianity, is for me characterized by traditional handicrafts, and free of digital twaddle. Painting eggs with the kids, finding the best hiding spots, and making sure to remember where things are hidden, or baking cake. What does any of that have to do with digitalization? Now, the celebrations are probably a bit less in themselves, but approaching the preparation, at the end, I was pretty astonished.
Observing the Easter preparations
This year, I resolved to put up a beautifully decorated Easter bouquet in my lounge room. On the one hand, it creates a happy, spring atmosphere, and on the other hand, my family can then admire my handiwork and might mercifully overlook the fact that the cake will be gluten-free and low carb this year (but that’s another topic). So I need a lot of eggs and some equipment. In this position, the first change I can thank digitalization for occurs to me: I prefer to do all my shopping online, be it clothing or food. So I had already had everything delivered to my house the day before. It is practical to not have to stand at the checkout (I could also write about a lot of experiences here…) and to have my shopping bags brought to my front door. As well as the eggs, I also ordered all the ingredients for my “healthy” Easter cake. I found the recipe for it in a forum for nutrition-conscious people and those with allergies. And there is the second mark on my list of changes from digitalization. The selection of recipes on the internet is huge. Even though many really good cookbooks adorn my bookshelf, I don’t want to go without the opinions of the forum readers who have already left their stars to evaluate different recipes. As well as this, one can always look at the ingredients for an online recipe in the supermarket so you don’t have to write all the ingredients on a piece of paper that you will forget at home anyway. Assuming, of course, that you go to the supermarket anymore. I haven’t actually had a look at any of my really well designed and sometimes expensive cookbooks, although I am a huge fan of the printed work and still don’t own any ebooks
Back to the eggs. These are now virgin white in my kitchen, ready to have their outsides drastically altered. As I held the raw egg in my hand, it occurred to me that I would have to somehow empty them. Hard boiled eggs are not recommended for an Easter bouquet. So I grab my phone, and – watch out, here comes number three – google “drain eggs”. After a quick examination I came to the decision that it all looked like too much effort, too unappetizing, and I decided to give my father the honourable task of hollowing out the eggs. So I took my phone, again – number four. To my first WhatsApp message, asking whether I could come over soon with my eggs, I didn’t get any answer. After five minutes I had become impatient and wrote him a second message with the remark that he should reply immediately, it is urgent. Again, nothing. What is so hard about checking your phone regularly to see if anyone urgently needs your help? Somewhat annoyed, I called his landline phone, as I rolled my eyes and grumbled something to myself about parents and technology. Right after the first ring, my dad picked up the phone, and I learned that his phone was in his jacket pocket in the hallway and he therefore did not realize my helplessness. “Just call straight away,” he said. “Why do you even have a mobile phone, then?” I responded. In the end, I could go visit him.
Digital assistance, a good mood and distraction
After blowing out the eggs, I prepared everything for painting them. Unfortunately I was only lacking a creative idea for the design. After musing for not even two minutes, I decided to go online to collect a few ideas – this is, shockingly, already mark number five. I found a few brilliant motives and exact video instructions and started to follow them. As a musical accentuation, I listened to my playlist of favourite good mood songs on my iPod – there is mark number six. Every now and then my phone signalled to me that something had happened that required my attention. Every time I was torn as to whether I should lay my paintbrush down and have a look, if perhaps someone had written to me. I decided to do so every time – a commentless seventh strike. I just can’t stand this feeling of not exactly knowing why my phone has just rung. Do you get that too? Should I perhaps be worried about it?
Digital egg colors
In addition to the eggs for the Easter bouquet, I also wanted to dye Easter eggs and make an Easter nest. How long does an egg need until it’s hard boiled? Because I almost never cook eggs, I was unsure. The eggs should also be edible for a while. In doubt, they can always be cooked for longer. But I wanted to know exactly. I mean – electricity doesn’t come out of the power point for free, and it never hurts to learn something new. I got my phone out, again, and opened Google – mark eight. I found the answer very quickly, but it wasn’t enough – there must be an app for this, I thought. One that shows me exactly what I have to do and when – oh, number nine. And I quickly struck it rich, and a download minute later it could begin: after I had entered the cooking method, the circumference of the egg, the cumulative elevation gain (someone is going to have to explain this to me at some point), the initial temperature of the egg and the desired degree of hardness, I could put the egg in the boiling water and start the app. Then, I was really impressed by the changing images on the display that showed me how the egg looked inside compared to the image of the desired condition. Impressive, the things that are available these days, isn’t it?
The next digital desire and the weather
My stove has simple ceramic hobs with plastic knobs and an oven that somehow only knows hot or cold with lighting that doesn’t work. I don’t think it ever worked. I think that, at this point, I can remove a strike from the list, can’t I? In any case I would much prefer to have a sensor-controlled device that can show the exact condition of the food in the oven, the optimal type of heat, the temperature and the cooking time, and can be controlled from a distance with a smartphone or tablet computer. At some point I will get such a gem. Who knows what technology will bring in the next months or years, what progress will be made. After the eggs were finally painted and cooked, and the kitchen looked a bit messy, I lost the desire to create things and wondered if I should do something for my fitness and take my bike for a spin. I had a look at my weather app – and earned strike number ten. I took my phone’s word for it that the current weather was a bit cloudy and the likelihood of rain was forty per cent. Sounds good, I thought. I went into my backyard then to pick up my bike, and realized, disappointed, that it was raining, and I wondered why the devil I didn’t just look out the window.
In order to put the eleventh mark on the list of digital changes in my life, I spent the next 45 minute with my computer in my lap on the couch looking for apps that I could use to send electronic Easter greetings. In the background some old film in HD was on TV – no marks here, because I didn’t really look at it once. But in a few hours, I used digital technologies eleven times, technologies that at one point in my life were completely non-existent and even though they were, in these cases, small, non-meaningful influences, I am not sure that the painted eggs would have come into being at all without them. Happy Easter.