Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Confessions Of A Wired Junkie

  |  November 11, 1999   |  Comments

Michelle's in a 12-step program. She's addicted to computers, cellular phones, handheld organizers, email, electronic address books. You name it, she's got it. The obsession only officially started three years ago, but the seeds were planted long before. You see, her dad and four of her eight brothers are engineers. And those who aren't engineers are lawyers, computer nerds, and physicists. No doubt about it, Michelle was doomed from the start.

I'm in a 12-step program to help me through my addiction. I am addicted to computers, cellular phones, handheld organizers, email, electronic address books. You name it, I got it. I am a gadget freak.

Although my obsession only officially started three years ago, the seeds had been planted well before that. You see, my dad and four of my eight brothers, are engineers. And those who aren't engineers are lawyers, computer nerds, and physicists. No doubt about it, I was doomed from the start.

I had no idea of what a wired junkie I had become. I had to hand-write my last article because I was vacationing at a place where I didn't have access to computers or phones. I can't tell you when I last picked up a pen or pencil.

My hand got cramped after writing the first couple of paragraphs. My curly-headed six-year-old niece was wondering if I was writing in my journal. Little did she know that even my journal is done on computer.

Even Mrs. Fisher, my third-grade math teacher, would be appalled at my lack of long division skills. The fruits of that agonizing year in third-grade math class have gone to the dark recesses of my mind since the invention of Lotus and Excel.

However, not having access to a computer for writing an article was the least of my problems. I didn't have access to email or a cellular phone, my lifelines to the world. No mouse to click, no phone buttons to push, no send button to tap.

Vacations are for relaxing, but for the first three days, I did everything but relax. It started slowly. I got the jitters. I'd break out in a cold sweat for no apparent reason. Then the pacing set in. I paced inside. I paced outside. I paced everywhere.

I didn't know how to carry on a regular conversation. I found it difficult to translate :) or ;) or LOL or L8TR into spoken language. My conversations were lacking without some visual aid of an attachment. My right index finger began to twitch.

It only got worse when I realized the source of my affliction: The inability to communicate with people on a wired basis. I was going through wire withdrawal. No emails from the boss, no ezines, no cellular phone calls to interrupt my day -- for an entire week.

I was surrounded by friends and family who helped immensely. They were the ones who reminded me that not three years ago, things were quite different. Neither my clients nor I had email, and I didn't own a cellular phone, handheld organizer, or laptop.

Heck, three years ago, I had to sneak into the local community college computer lab to get cover letters done. The realization that I had survived the last handful of decades without these wired devices was half the battle.

I lived through my wireless week, and much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed myself (after the first three days of de-wire).

I no longer check my email every two minutes. Instead of reaching for the keyboard, I reach for the landline phone to talk to my clients. I no longer check my email the minute I get home from work, knowing I just checked it 30 minutes ago, before I left the office. I no longer check my email at midnight before I go to bed, knowing that the recipient will most likely not reply at this hour anyway.

I have gained a better appreciation of the softer things in life, like talking to people face to face or voice to voice.

Even though the world of wireless is beginning to perfect itself, I take great comfort in the fact that there will still be people like my mother, who remembers every birthday of all her sons, daughters, grandkids, aunts, uncles. Not because of some electronic reminder, but because it is written in her address book, that she keeps in the kitchen drawer. The same book she's had since I was a kid.

And I can't live without those handwritten notes from her that show up in the mail for no particular occasion.

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!


Michelle Ellis

Michelle Ellis is Director of Account Planning at M2K, a top-100 interactive agency. She started her career over a decade ago focusing on the retail and business-to-business industries. M2K specializes in interactive marketing solutions for clients, including strategic positioning, media planning and buying, offline and online creative, web site design, intranets, and extranets.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!




Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.


    Information currently unavailable


    • Lead Generation Specialist
      Lead Generation Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead-generation...
    • Health Marketing Editor
      Health Marketing Editor (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreCome flex your intellectual muscle as part of Agora, Inc’s (http://agora-inc.com/) legal team...
    • Marketing Systems Analyst
      Marketing Systems Analyst (OmniVista Health) - BaltimoreOmniVista Health is looking to add a Marketing Systems Analyst to our expanding team. We...