The world is continually evolving.

If it wasn’t, I’d be sharing my thoughts with you through drawings on a cave wall.

The pictures would show you my fascination for how technology has transformed the way we behave and function. Our quality of life has been enhanced on so many levels that it’s mind boggling.

Healthcare innovations. The way the world communicates. How we get from place to place. Big Mac sauce for sale in a squeeze bottle. All of these leave me in awe.

In theory, technology is meant to improve our lives. Make life more enjoyable. And easier.

Just look at smart phones. In your hand is a camera. A texting device. It’s your source of music and gateway to social media. You play games on your phone. Watch movies. And surf the Internet. It’s your weatherman and your wallet. It’s also your newscaster and step counter.

Your phone tells you where you’re supposed to be, when to be there, and how to get there.

Occasionally you even use it to call someone.

If the goal of the cell phone is to make life more enjoyable and easier, then I can say mission accomplished on all fronts.

But there is a cost.

We’ve all witnessed that couple in a restaurant, each with phone in hand, completely focused on their screen and ignoring the living, breathing soul sitting across the table.

Then there’s the kid who no longer needs to remember a phone number. In fact, he doesn’t need to retain any knowledge whatsoever other than the word “Siri” because his phone will find the answer for him.

Convenience is dumbing down the world and creating an illusion that you can survive in solitude and not interact with the world around you.

You require only a device and an Internet connection to do your job, pay your bills, and do your shopping.

For many, this is truly a stroke of genius. Not only convenient, but preferable in a world where things need to be done quickly because we believe we’re too busy to wait in line or make small talk in the breakfast cereal aisle.

The world tells us to adapt and embrace the latest gadget. It will make life simpler, they say. The truth is:  the simple things in life are being sacrificed.

Look at e-books. Reading on your phone or tablet will never trump the joy of actually holding a paperback.

We’ve lost the pleasure of going to a record store for our music. It makes my heart hurt to think a trip to a bookstore or a library will be relegated to memory.

I’m also saddened that easy access to online information has all but pushed community newspapers from this world. It’s bothersome that future generations won’t know the happiness of opening a box in the basement and finding a scrapbook. A paper treasure chest full of newspaper clippings from kindergarten concerts, sports triumphs, dance recitals, public speaking contests, winter carnivals, science fairs, and elementary school graduations.

And in my hometown, there was always a photo in the paper each spring of the first customers at the local Dairy Queen when it opened for the season. Now the newspaper office is boarded up, and if the next iPhone has an app that can dispense ice cream, the DQ could follow suit.

My mom had many important roles and titles within our family, including guardian of the scrapbook and keeper of the family photo albums.

Yet another heartbreaking casualty of the digital age.

That phone in your pocket has thousands of photos only a swipe away. Handy, yes. Cold and soulless? Without a doubt.

Photo albums are the heartbeat of family history. Each snapshot has a story it shares by taking your hand and walking you back in time.

Family trips. Holidays. Babies and family pets. School photos. Life’s milestones. Unfiltered silliness and laughter.

The true essence of family. All there. Under plastic. And somehow just opening an album brings every single person on those pages back to life, releasing their spirit and energy into the universe.

There’s no app for that.

It’s funny how only the passing of time allows us to see that the little things were really the big things.

The world is evolving, and we change with it. But don’t ever lose the little things. They make all the difference.


Jason Marshall has been a writer and journalist for more than 30 years, and is an on-air host and station manager at Valley Heritage Radio just outside of Renfrew, Ontario. And he’s truly a big kid at heart. You can email him anytime at