Christina Crook, New Society Publishers, newsociety.com, 216 pgs, $17.95
It is a well-known fact that technology has seeped into our everyday lives, making us dependent to the point where there’s now a named phobia for missing texts on your phone. Author Christina Crook wanted to see just how dependent humans are on our phones, laptops, iPads and the holy grail that is the Internet by quitting cold turkey and documenting her experience. After 31 days, she remerged enlightened and decided to write about it in her book, The Joy of Missing Out. Combining personal experience with research, Crook takes the reader through the history of human communication, how technology has changed our interactions, and what we can do to find balance in our everyday lives.
I found myself wanting to delete the Facebook app from my phone as I began to calculate just how much time I actually spent on it, thinking it didn’t count if my laptop was closed. Crook addresses this use (or waste, depending on how you look at it) of time: “In our accelerated culture, we complain about having no time, all of the time, yet we impulsively spend what free moments we have submerged in the never-ending drama of email inboxes, social media feeds and reality television shows.”
There did seem to be a constant battle of whether or not technology was helping or hindering throughout the book. For example, what of the elderly gentleman who is able to communicate with family via Skype, where he may have otherwise missed out on big events? Cut to Crook discussing the sense of loneliness experienced by internet-addicted children in Japan. While she was providing a well-rounded view of technology, this back and forth sensibility sometimes made Crooks stance seem unsure.
The Joy of Missing Out, while sometimes conflicting, is an excellent resource for anyone who feels they are too immersed in the tech realm. Questions are posed at the end of each chapter to help the reader better understand their own relationship with technology, and figure out if they need to take a break. (Carissa Ainslie)