Why Technology Makes Me Happier

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This past week, Jennifer Aaker tweeted the following, referring to an article Technology Will Make You Happier, asking the question — Why?

Technology Happy

Here's my answer:

Technology is enabling the finding of my voice.  I wrote in a 2007 blog post titled What If?, “the ease of blogging (have computer, can publish — no rules
to play by or political waters to navigate), many who would never have
dreamed of being published in the world of old media, are now pointing,
clicking and publishing here in the blogosphere.”

That technology enables voice-finding has been true not only for me, but countless others.  Consider Chrysula Winegar.  In 2009, she talked of searching for her voice in the post Oh My Goodness, I Left My Voice on the Bus.  Less than a year later, Chrysula hosted a UN Digital Media Panel titled Changing the World, One Mother At a Time. Because she blogs and twitters, Chrysula's voice is no longer languishing on the bus.  As is the case with many of you, her voice is beginning to drive the bus.

Technology is helping me change my corner of the world.  A dear friend of mine recently sent me an e-mail that went something like this: my husband and children are thriving.  I, on the other hand, am not; I am a middle-aged, boring woman who doesn't know what she wants to do.

My friend really believes what she said, but some of it is patently untrue.  It is irrefutable that she is getting older, as are we all; you can read my birthday lament/musings here.  But her husband and children are thriving, in part because of the woman she is, and the home she has created.  The assertion that she is boring, that there is no future ahead of her, isn't true, no matter how true it may feel.  I know her to be smart, dynamic, wise, and beautiful.

Similar conversations with other close friends led me to start this blog.  If even one woman dares to dream because of what I've written, I will have helped change my corner of the world.

Technology is allowing me to connect with and build community.  When we feel connected to others, we are happier, thanks to oxytocin.   My blog is a virtual water cooler where old and new friends swap stories about daring and dreaming.  Twitter is a farmer's market of ideas.  As I participate in this idea bazaar, I am creating a community of professional peers.  And Facebook — who hasn't reveled in the outpouring of birthday wishes?

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Source:  istockphoto

My on-line network of professional female peers was particularly important this past week as I prepared to attend an industry conference for hedge fund, private equity and venture capital professionals.  Hundreds would be in attendance, but only about ten women, if I'm being generous.

This tends to be problematic because transitioning conversations with male conferees from talk of family and friends to shop talk tends to be difficult, dispiriting even, occasionally causing me to feel invisible.  Because the value of industry conferences is mostly about the networking, I consequently have to work pretty hard to get a return on my time, money and energy.

As I prepped for this year's event, Cali Williams Yost, a woman in my virtual network, encouraged me, rallied me me even, telling me that really showing up was important, not only for me, but also for the women who come after me.  That on-line conversation was pivotal.  Without technology, I wouldn't know Cali.   And I am happy to report that I not only talked to more people than in previous years, and I talked more shop.  In other words, I really showed up, and claimed my place.

***

Nearly all of us want to find our voice, to change our corner of the world, and to feel connected.

Technology can help us do all three — and that makes me happy.

Does technology make you happier?

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