We are living in a digitalized world. That’s probably old news to you.
However, it became even more obvious to me when I moved to Sweden and then the US.
Online banking. Online dating. Online transportation. Online food order. Digital maps. Social Media. Blogging. Work. Online dictonary. Online application. Life Online.
The only thing you really still seem to need to survive these days are a smart phone and a credit card.
Both in Sweden and the US cash seems outdated. There’s simply no need to have cash. Ever. Well almost.
When I moved to DC I realized how lost I was without mobile data: I couldn’t call an Uber, find out when my busses would leave or where they would take me. Couldn’t get in touch with anyone and was worried to get lost in the city without google maps (I know, paper maps work too, but I didn’t have one…). Especially to use affordable and reasonably efficient transportation (Uber/Bus), mobile data is key in the US.
As a digital native I enjoy the cash free society, the perks of Uber and ordering take out online. I can meet new people anywhere, anytime. Find a couch to surf. Follow global news in real time. I can be in touch with my friends all over the world and skype with my family anytime. If you are living a global life, digitalization is a gift.
But besides the obvious shady sides that are openly discussed in public like privacy concerns and cyber security, I’m also concerned about how digitalization affects our social lifes.
Sure, it’s great if I can have a nice conversation in an Uber pool with a total stranger. Or to know that my blind date already approved of my look. But sometimes I feel like digitalization is also resticting us. When was the last time a stranger in a bar walked up to you and asked for your number? In a nice way, not a tinderesque swipe-right, swipe-left manner. When have you last called a friend without announcing your call? Or maybe even without a reason, just to chat… Have people gotten shyer about talking to people in real life?
Don’t get me wrong, as I said, I’m absolutely pro digitalization. But please: Let’s apply our new online openess to the real world! Let’s make use of the new individualism and liberalism. Let’s be brave enough to ask a stranger on the street for directions – at least when our google maps is not working and we have no paper map at hand.
Side note: Getting an American pre-paid SIM with a monthly plan but no contract takes more effort than one would expect – and it can be REALLY EXPENSIVE. To maybe safe somebody sometime: I’m really happy with my H20 monthly unlimited plan I found after quite some research.