Paterson: Don’t let technology get in the way of living

It's best to soak in an experience before telling the world about it on your smart phone.

I own, and regularly use, an LG flip phone.

Certain readers might not wince at that statement, but many—some of whom are reading this on their iPhone—understand flip phones are only a slight improvement from the Zack Morris cell phones of the early 90s.

Being a reporter, my choice of mobile device has given me a fair share of challenges.

This became blatantly obvious when I was covering a fire in Joe Rich last summer.

Upon arrival I interviewed a woman who was one of the first to witness the blaze.

Following the interview, I watched as she leaned out her driver-side window and snapped eight-megapixel photos with her iPhone.

Knowing that my 0.3 megapixel camera wouldn’t produce newspaper—or even website—quality, I sheepishly asked her a post-interview question.

“Umm, do you mind e-mailing some of those pictures to our newsroom?”

I am fully aware of the benefits that come with having a smart phone; it probably won’t be long until I give in and become the owner of one, myself.

But last Wednesday evening I was reminded of one reason to be thankful for my primitive technology.

Like the 20,000 fans in the United Center, I watched unlikely overtime hero Brent Seabrook send a snap shot past Jimmy Howard to propel the Chicago Blackhawks into the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

What amazed me was what CBC cameras captured moments after the goal.

The sequence of events went something like this: The red goal light turned on, United Center fans leaped to their feet while cheering, they high-fived those sitting near them, they looked up at the scoreboard, they realized something, they reached into their pockets, they pulled out their smart phones, they took photos of the Blawkhawks’ celebration, they took photos of their friends giving thumbs up, they took selfie photos with their own thumb up, they tweeted, “Hawks Win! This place is nuts #wewantcup #livingthedream #imhere,” they texted their friends, “Did you see that goal? This is crazy! Did you know I’m here?” they updated their Facebook statuses, “Just witnessed the Hawks make history! Can’t believe I’m here for this!”

By the time they glanced up the teams had already shook hands and were skating off the ice; when they glanced back down they saw they’d already gotten two likes on their new status.

It may seem like I’m exaggerating, but as the cameras scanned the audience nearly half of those in attendance—including Blawkhawks’ general manager Stan Bowman—were staring at their smart phone screens.

Being a reporter, I understand the appeal of being first to inform others about substantial information.

But my reluctance to pull out a slightly embarrassing flip phone has taught me sometimes it’s best to soak in an experience before telling the world about it.

And I’m sure all the Facebook friends and Twitter followers won’t mind—they were probably already informed by several others.


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