The Speed of Things

Every so often I get an email or a card from someone who encourages me to keep writing my blog. This morning I got one of that said, “I miss your blogs.” Saturday someone else called to ask if their name had been taken off my list because they hadn’t heard from me for a while. There are lots of reasons for not writing these last few months. I don’t know about you but the speed and quantity of information we’re all dealing with shuts my circuits down pretty regularly. I still haven’t figured out how to sort my emails so that the ones I need to respond to don’t get so far down the list that I forget they’re there. One friend invited us for dinner a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t respond because I needed to check dates with my husband first, then forgot to write her back. I remembered in the middle of the night a week later. It’s a crummy feeling. This morning I thought maybe I’d start a file labeled “Answer” where I’d put emails that need attention quickly. But then I’d have to remember to do it, and check it on some kind of regular basis. Better, I think, to answer right away.

About a year ago I made a decision to turn my devices off on Sundays and holidays. Truth is, email has become work. There’s so much of it that just sorting through it to delete things takes a lot of time. But there are supposed to be days when we don’t work. I don’t know how long humans have scheduled a Sabbath, but I don’t think we should skip it lightly.

I finally got an iphone a few months ago, which means I’m more or less on-call unless I turn it off. I don’t want to be on-call. I don’t want to have to respond the moment someone has a question for me. On the other hand, if my decisions or input are needed quickly in order for someone else to make their own plans, well then, I do want to respond punctually. I want to be respectful not hyper alert. Sometimes my response is to ignore it all so I don’t have to fret about it. My guess is you know what I’m talking about.

An older student of mine told me yesterday that her mother-in-law once said a long time ago, “I don’t know what you young people are going to do with all these cars. It’s gonna change everything. It’s all happening too fast.” Of course she was right. I feel the same way about communication technology: It’s all going too fast! I’m excited about it but it makes me feel old. I simply can’t (and don’t want to) keep up.

 

The question is if I’m not going to keep up, how do I expect to make a living selling music? My livelihood depends on me understanding digital music distribution. In order to be successful, I have to know how to get my songs onto people’s devices and that they’ve paid for it. The challenge exhausts me. I keep thinking there’s a business opportunity for young people who can help old farts like me keep up. Next week 3 students at the local high school are meeting to talk with me about just that. They’ve taken me on as a business project in their finance class. Hallelujah! I’m not sure what they’ll come up with but I’m excited to find out.

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