Taking Technology for Granted

In what I'm hoping is the end to my recent long line of technology issues, I'm changing my ISP. Phone service should switch tomorrow with no problem. But there might be a several day gap between that and when the new company actually gets my modem kit to me to hook up the Internet connection. Why that would happen in this day and age (and when I gave them around a week's notice between ordering and scheduling installation -- much longer than they wanted), is beyond me.

So yeah... I might not be active here much this week as far as approving and responding to comments goes. And I won't be tweeting as regularly as usual during the work week. Bear with me.

These things happen. And when they happen, they can dramatically affect our work. I mean, sure, I can still write without an Internet connection. But I can't pull up new research material online or pull links from a client's site to embed in their blog posts. And I can't schedule those blog posts in their WordPress installations. And I can't easily get email for client feedback and such -- at least not as frequently as they're used to.

That will likely prove to be frustrating. I don't work well in public places, so I won't pull my laptop out at a cafe or something unless I absolutely have to. And shooting off emails and putting posts online doesn't equal "have to" in my book. I can run over to someone else's place each day (or more likely every other day) just to touch base with clients about their projects and send anything completed. It's a hassle. But a necessary one. And I probably only think of it as such a hassle because I've come to take technology for granted in my work. I just expect it to be there. And (for whatever reason) I just expect it to work.

I'm curious. How reliant are you on the Web for your freelance writing work? If you lost access for a few days, what would your backup plan be? Would your clients (like mine) be understanding or do they expect you to be there online, on-call during all of your working hours (and boy do I hope not). Maybe now is a good time to create a backup plan for yourself in case you suddenly lost access to vital technology -- portable backups of client files, a backup location for Internet access if you don't have one yet, etc. Hey, it's just a thought.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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8 thoughts on “Taking Technology for Granted”

  1. Food for thought, Jenn. I need regular access sometimes as there are certain times when losing access would be a real blow, while at other times in the month, I could survive. If worst came to worst, I’d have to bite the bullet and use my cell phone providers very expensive data plans so I could send essential emails.

  2. That’s not even an option for me. I refuse to be one of those people who has to always be “plugged in” in life, accessing email, Twitter, etc. on the go. And setting up that kind of plan would lead to that for me. So I keep my cell phone, phone-only.

    Unfortunately this week’s work is all online too — blogging, tweeting, and comment management for a blog network. So it all requires regular access. It’s just going to have to be done in chunks a bit different than usual. I’m hoping to at least have all blog posts written by the end of the work day tomorrow so I only have to make one trip somewhere else to post it all online or email it to clients.

    Better yet of course would be if the new phone company / ISP decided not to be stupid and hold onto the modem until installation date before mailing (as they pretty much state they can do) since I left plenty of time for that before scheduling it. Not getting my hopes up, but that would certainly be a nice change in customer service from other tech-based companies I’ve dealt with lately.

  3. Gee, that’s really frustrating and I hope everything works well for you. Can you even imagine a life without technology? We’ve become so hooked these days that unplugging even for a day gives you that panic attack and so on. Have you tried cloud computing? You can store data and the likes in the clouds, which you can access anywhere using a login ID and password. Like you, I have a thing against working in public places. It just don’t work for me.

  4. I was kinda thinking the same thing this weekend. My main laptop went kabluey and I was thinking about how when you work from home your computer is an essential. If it gets damaged or stolen, you can’t just say “Oh well. No more Facebook for me this week.” It’s “Oh, crap. how can I get to work.” There’s no IT team coming to fix it for you.

    As for the Internet, I would say that I probably couldn’t go more than a day or two without it. Fortunately, I have the a phone that tethers so I do that if worst comes to worst. I also live within walking distance of a public library and it’s super comfortable to work there (for me anyway).

  5. How reliant on the web? Extremely. Not so much for keeping in touch—I can survive checking my email at 2-3-day intervals—but for research. Having read your post I thought about my recent projects, and there’s not one in about 6 months that I could have completed without at least 3-4 hours’ web connection daily.

    The backup plan? In case of a hardware failure, my laptop, which I usually only use when travelling. An ISP failure would be fatal for research work, but I could still use email through a couple of webmail services I have for emergencies.

  6. My daughter and son-in-law are freelance writers working from home in an apartment complex. Last week the apartment managers sent a notice that they were switching providers and it might take up to a week before internet service was restored. Not cool! My kids called a number of providers to see if they could get private service, but the earliest anyone could get a tech out was “early next week,” five days out. They have a preschooler, so there was no way they could do the internet cafe thing.

    My daughter was so angry at the ISP reps. They did not care that their attitude was costing a small business one quarter of monthly sales volume. The kids ended up packing suitcases and spending a few days with me. It was fun working madly at crazy hours together. But I’m not sure what I’d do. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. I’ve done a stint without technology or electricity. After Ike blew through here last year we went almost a week without power. I couldn’t do much, but I did get emails out on my phone to clients to let them know about the situation – they were very understanding. I also plan to find a car charger for the laptop if I can so that I can at least write without worrying too much about batteries dying on me.

    I got a bit done offline after the storm, by candlelight no less, but I ran out of juice and that was that. A full tank of gas in the driveway would make a big difference as far as taking care of the basics although research would have been tricky. I love the phone for taking care of emails, but then I’m not bothered by being connected all the time – it simplifies my already crazy life immensely.

    I thought that latest hurricane was going to hit the Yankees this time – then you’d REALLY know what it’s like. LOL But it looks like we all got a pass for that one at least.

  8. If your library has internet that could work as a nice backup. I go to McDonalds, order a parfait for me and the kids, then let the kids go crazy in the indoor playground. They get a healthy snack and some exercise and I get to work for an hour or two. I’m dying to get the new Droid (I already have the old Droid) that makes your cell phone a mobile hot spot. That way I have internet access no matter where I am. We travel a lot so this would be fantastic.


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