With a million and one friends on Facebook, an army of followers on Twitter and an inbox where there's never a dull moment, chances are you see yourself as quite the social type, right?
It's funny, but the very people that poke fun as the shut-ins of the 21st century are often guilty of precisely the same crimes.
What's happened over recent years is that the once very clear line between an active life and a life largely shut off from the outside world has been blurred by the concept of convenience. Ask a sample group of a thousand people if they'd choose the easier of two options if the outcome would be exactly the same and chances are 999 of them would agree in an instant. It's just common sense – why waste and time and energy if you don't have to?
The thing is, by this logic we're eventually going to end up living in a world where the majority of society never leaves the various rooms, pods and bubbles of the home that provides all the essentials, companionship and entertainment a person could ever need.
So if all this sounds a little unsettling, it might be time to ask yourself – are you turning into a 21st century hermit, or are you already there?
A few example behaviours to drill the point home:
Online Fashion Shopping
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you're considering renewing your wardrobe? Set a morning aside and stroll around town, try some cloths, look at colourful windows or log onto the web and see the latest trends, sales, wholesale options and finally order online? Technically the latter makes way more sense – it saves you time, money, effort and there are so many options! But at the same time rules out exercise, fresh air, social interaction and so on and so forth…the behaviour of a hermit!
These days, even some of the most rarely used services of yesteryear have become the everyday essentials of today – all of which can be accessed and made use of via the web. Take managed print services as an example – why head into town to order your prints, copies and posters when you can submit files over the web? And the bigger the range of cloud services becomes, the less reason there will be to leave the couch.
Online Video Calling
It seems like the most wonderful tool ever invented for keeping in touch with family and friends, but there's no escaping the dark side of Skype and the other similar services doing the rounds. Sure it's a good way of communicating, but at the same time it eliminates the need for making any kind of arrangements to actually see people in person for some good old-fashioned interaction as it's meant to be. So ask yourself – how many of your chats and conversations take place in person, compared with how many take place without you ever having to move an inch?
And it's even gotten to the point now where you don't have to lift a finger to order your weekly groceries. You can have them delivered free of charge, so technically it makes it even cheaper than driving to the supermarket and buying them yourself. But again, you're missing out on the daylight, the exercise and the potential for social interaction these little trips provide.
Eventually, folk will have to draw the line somewhere and decide where the 21st century hermit lifestyle has to be shunned in favour of the old-fashioned approach. Technology is great for making life more convenient, but should it really be allowed to turn us all into shut-ins?
No thank you!