Friday, February 22, 2008

Dinosaur times

I just realized that work can be done without the help (or interruption) of e-mail and the Internet.

We were without both early on Monday. At first, I was infuriated. I was expecting several e-mails and I knew I had to send out a bunch of electronic messages. I also expected to call a bunch of people--but how could I look them up without searching for numbers on the World Wide Web?

Since we couldn't work, the least we could do was party in the newsroom, right? Wrong.

Then I noticed Maggie Martin, a 43-year Times veteran, typing away on her computer.

I wondered what she could be doing. And by this time, a bunch of us were flipping out about the lack of technology in our room. One frustrated editor discovered a way to send instant, electronic messages through the system we use to write our stories. Our executive editor announced that we would find a work-around for posting online updates (of course we would).

Apparently, Maggie heard the commotion and she said, "You can still write your stories, Ashley. I'm typing my column and I don't need the Internet for that."

Oh, that's right...I could type up some notes for a story and type the stories for which I already obtained all the information needed. And there is a thing called a phone book--I could look up necessary numbers that way. And for those e-mails, I could just call people for the information I needed.

I was astounded by all the work I learned to complete without my editor, PR representatives, sources and friends constantly sending me messages. It was easy for me to work without the temptation of breaking to search the web for latest celebrity gossip. I actually got a LOT done.

Us Generation Y-ers are used to technology. In fact, we crave it (at least I do). When we are without it, we often find ourselves lost and frustrated--like I was on Monday. But I guess that's the difference between the awesome and amazing Maggie Martins of the world and me.

What do you think?


Stephanie Bemrose said...

Ashley, what a great post about how we sometimes rely too much on technology. I try to use conventional methods (IE, the phone book) instead of online resources, but sometimes, when you're already typing away at a keyboard, you might as well continue with that for something simple like a quick phone number. It's good to look at the context of the situation, though -- and you're right, members of our generation are sometimes not able to think outside the box when technology crashes. Great post!

Elizabeth said...

I agree! It would be nice to have a "no tech" day everyonce in a while to remind us that we can function without a keyboard. I'm reminded of a time when my printer and my computer weren't communicating. I was trying to make name tags for a special event and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get them to print out just the way I wanted them. I packed up my bag and was so frustrated that I settled on just not having name tags. I was out the door when I realized, I had everything I needed really. The name tags and a good 'ol sharpie. Surely people still remembered how to write their names on those little tags right? From then on I told myself that sometimes you've gotta get back to basics. The solutions are right in front of your face but you haven't had to actually do anything hands on in so long that it takes a while to click.