The times they have a-changed

And I feel like I can’t keep up. Listening to Nina Simone’s rendition of the famous Bob Dylan song ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ has inspired this piece. While Dylan was singing about social and political upheaval in the 1960s, I’m concerned about the lack of social connection due to technology these days. Can I blame technology or do I need to look at myself?


The Times They Are a-Changin (lyrics)

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Above you have grown


As someone who has worked in technology for the past fifteen years, I guess you could call me a late adopter when it comes to gadgets. When people had smartphones I still had a Nokia flip phone. When people were in love with the iPhone I had graduated to the BlackBerry. That’s when I started texting. It was too hard to text on the flip phone and I didn’t have the patience for it.


If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’, changin’


Now I’ve got myself a slightly older iPhone and perhaps I need to start swimmin’ more with the rest of society when it comes to texting, but there are days when I feel uncomfortable with it and generally disconnected from people. Why not just pick up the phone and call someone when you want to catch up? Why wait for cryptic abbreviated messages to be sent back and forth when you are making plans with someone?


Come writers and critics
Who prophesy with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin

And there’s no tellin’ who
It’ll be namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’, changin’


Yes, I’m a critic and yes it’s also convenient to let someone know you might be a few minutes late when meeting by firing off a quick text, I’m all for convenience – can you tell I’m conflicted? However, when it gets to the point where I realize I haven’t spoken to my friends in over a week and I’ve only been communicating by text, it makes me feel sad.


The line it is drawn now
And the curse it is cast
AND The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past


I get it, we’re busy and we don’t always have time to talk on the phone. Maybe I’m the slow one now or maybe I’m just jaded. I used to get texts from my colleagues an hour after they were supposed to be at a meeting, saying ‘sorry I’m running late,’ with no follow up in person. Where is the accountability in that? If I’m the slow one now, what will it mean to be fast later in our modern, connected world? Things are fast enough already.

I’m ready to slow down even more, to disconnect from technology, at least for a little while. How ironic as I write this on my computer (I did handwrite it first) and post it on my blog, I did say I was conflicted.


The order is
Rapidly fadin’
Oh the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’, changin’

Yes the times have changed and I had better get used to it.


Categories: Inspiration