|Reboot: 5 Tech Resolutions for 2013|
|COLUMN By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Dec 31, 2012, 9:49 AM|
The clock will strike midnight in just a few hours, signaling that time for us all to consider living a bit differently in the year ahead.
Many will pledge to make some of the usual resolutions: eat healthier, work out more, be wiser about spending. Phones, tablets and apps can be incredibly useful with helping keep those resolutions and the phone will likely be the first thing (OK, maybe the second thing!) you grab at midnight.
But when I grab the phone a little after the ball has fallen, I'm vowing to use it a bit differently this year. To become a better person and tech user, I am planning a tech reboot with some technology-based changes in 2013. Some of these might seem overly ambitious and, according to the experts, I could easily fail. But who cares? Here are my five tech resolutions.
1. Put the phone away. I can barely get through a meal or even a movie without checking my phone for a new e-mail, tweet or Facebook message. My name is Joanna, and I am addicted to checking my devices. Now, I'm not giving up my phones (yes, I carry two!) for a year like my friend Paul Miller, but I am going to be more mindful of how and when I use them. I don't expect to completely curb my technology addiction, but I do plan to spend more time being present at meal, participating in conversation in my physical world rather than the digital one. My relationships suffer from the digital interruptions and I probably use my phone as a crutch in certain social situations.
As Sherry Turkle, author of "Alone Together," says in this TED Talk, "Those little devices in our pockets are so psychologically powerful that they don't only change what we do, but who we are." In 2013, I want to push myself to reclaim who I am without always waiting for the push notifications.
2. Respond to the emails that matter. This one seems to counter the one above, but I have an issue with ignoring my personal email. Not in 2013. I have already begun to clean out my personal inbox by unsubscribing from pointless newsletters so I can focus on the important mail. I'm committed to emailing back my family and friends as quickly as possible. That said, I will not respond to or forward the chain letters they send along. Sorry, mom!
3. Spend social media time more wisely. One way to accomplish my e-mail resolution is by limiting my time procrastinating and messing around on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Social media is key to my job -- I must and will stay abreast of the news and latest trends -- but I can be smarter about how much time I waste on Facebook looking at photos of people I don't know anymore or funny GIFs on Reddit. I'm not saying I will give up having fun on the Internet; I just want more time to communicate online and in real life with the people that matter most to me.
4. Lead a safer online and mobile life. After Mat Honan's online life was destroyed, I took some steps to lead a safer online life but I will do more! Especially with McAfee (the security company, not the "crazy-card" founder himself) predicting that mobile devices will be one of the primary targets for hackers in 2013. While writing this column, I changed the passwords on my main accounts -- using different passwords for each one -- and made sure I could remotely wipe my Android phone and iPad if ever lost. I also will back up my data! Lastly, I'll be more careful about information I share online, which includes being mindful of my Facebook privacy settings and location services usage.
5. Help those in need of tech support. On Christmas Day, I offered some tips on how you can help family members with tech support they might need. In the process of creating that video, I had an amazing time meeting a 90-year-old man and teaching him about the iPad. While I help my family, friends and colleagues on a regular basis with tech questions -- what phone to buy, how to get a Beyoncé ring tone, why an e-reader over a tablet -- I plan to proactively offer tech advice in 2013. Finally, I resolve to be more patient when responding to questions I find obvious. But the real question is can I refrain from reading and answering those e-questions at the dinner table? Ask me same time next year.
Let us know about tech resolutions in the comments or on Twitter at @TechThisOutABC