Make sure your cloud has back door

Gavin Gaddis

A popular perennial article for tech sites is a celebrity’s personal account of how a self-enforced abstinence from social media/smartphones made their lives incredibly more productive. For a week or so, people discuss the benefits of controlling screen time and the downsides of phones turning us into zombies.

Last week, the battery charger on my phone died, leaving me effectively off the grid for three days.

All access to Facebook, anything owned by Google and Twitter remained locked behind two-factor authentication.

I could not log into these important communication and file sharing tools while on campus without having my phone to receive the authentication text.

Unlike Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswalt or any of the other celebrities who sing the praises of taking yourself off social media occasionally, I did not enjoy myself.

True, I did not necessarily need to browse Yik Yak or FADE between classes or check out the newest happenings on Reddit. Generally, I avoid heavy use of those apps on campus for the simple fact that they burn battery pretty hardcore.

You will not find any Depaak Chopra-esque revelations in this editorial about how technology has made us grow apart, because unlike these people, I am a digital native.

To those born before the 1990s, the idea of having constant internet access still holds a little of that Tomorrowland flying-car-future excitement to it.

I was not miffed about missed tweets or the latest Kardashian gossip. I was missing the world around me.

A dear friend of mine needed help moving out of their apartment – a fact I did not learn until coming home to five Facebook messages sent 20 minutes after I’d left my house that morning (the location of the only PC authorized to access my account without two-factor).

Connectivity is key in the modern world. Thousands of students walk around campus every day without a single clue of what is happening around them.

Homework was nearly impossible as I could not connect to my cloud account to access projects, I had no way to contact friends on campus and I had no way of gauging the general events on campus via the social media platforms.

When you’re connected, you know about the flash-dance scene in UC West immediately. When you’re not connected, you see a 10 or 15-second video posted on someone’s account the next day.

Students should embrace the digital tools around them.

You have magnificent technology in the palm of your hand. Make good use of it.

Just make sure you have some backdoors into your cloud account of choice if things go wrong.