First off, I had to double check to make sure the word, “digitizing” was, in fact, a word. Alas, it is so I may resume this brief post…
I’ve given much thought to the concept of digitizing my life over the last few years, as technology has become more advanced and devices have become more accessible and portable. I’ve wrestled with the pro’s and con’s of the change, weighing that unique feeling of paper which accompanies reading a physical book, the act of writing long-hand in a journal or a notebook, and the memory benefits of keeping a hard-copy calendar. I’ve debated the sound quality of digital music and wondered if pictures were as meaningful in an electronic scrapbook versus an online one. But I decided the convenience and ecological benefits merited at least the attempt.
So I’m transitioning my life, so to speak, into a digital format. I’ve started reading my Bible using the Accordance software for iOS (amazing tool for bible nerds…www.accordancebible.com). This has been the most difficult, I must admit. I feared something reverent might be lost in digital Scripture. But my buddy Chris, who’s a pastor, advised me that he’s pretty sure God is in the pixels as well. I’ve been pleasantly surprised- the electronic tools have made it a smoother transition than I had imagined, and I rather like the ease of toggling among translations and the convenience of jumping to specific passages referenced in church (although I fear onlookers in the pews will be convinced I’m playing TriviaCrack rather than prayerfully listening to the sermon).
I was an “early adopter” for Kindle, so most of my books have been digital for years now. I’ve even subscribed to the paper on my iPad and a few magazines. The technology have gotten so good in those areas that it really does mimic the reading of those paper formats in a digital environment.
I finally relinquished the whimsical hope of keeping a paper calendar, realizing that keeping up with all the entries of work, school, 5 kids’ activities, and a busy wife required the helpful tricks of being able to embed maps to parties and practices and attach key phone numbers. In addition, changing dates and times is easier electronically, and avoids the mess of ink or graphite smudges present in a paper calendar. Also, considering my mild case of ADD (what was that….hmm…so shiny!) the ability to set alarms for calendar entries helps me remember important events.
The discovery of a strong journaling app, closed the door on the last remnant of a paper world (I owe this to my pal Michael, an app afficianado). It’s called Day One (available for $5 on iTunes) and is a terrific, password-protected journaling app that allows one to add pictures to your entries as well as voice-dictate them, in case you want to catch a passing thought or idea.
An obvious negative with digitizing my life is the use of electricity; the frequent need for charging and the risk of device damage in the outdoors. But I guess we can agree on some sort of “universe-trade off”, since I’m (hopefully) saving trees by using less paper? Also, the studies are still out on the damage done to our brains by frequent screen use. I guess I will have to rely on the amazing, adaptive potential of the human species here. As for music, my inner hipster will always favor vinyl, but there is a wonderful convenience of carrying your music library in your pocket (same goes for your reading library).
Either way, I’m enjoying this new approach to life. It might last, it might not. But it’s fun to shake things up a little bit. Now let’s hope there are no power outages coming soon. Then I’m certainly in for it.