Tonight I'm hosting Chick Lit Chat on Twitter!! Come on by at 8 EST and use the hashtag #chicklitchat! Tonight's topic is technology in contemporary works!
My topic for tonight came from an old episode of Friends. I am a huge fan of the show and I'm in the process of watching the entire series from start to finish on DVD. In one of the early season's episodes, there was a big problem when some of the friends were supposed to be somewhere and they weren't and no one knew where they were and it turned into a huge problem. (I'm blanking on exact details, since I watched this episode a couple months ago.) But anyway, I sat here thinking to myself, "This would't even be an issue today since everyone has cell phones."
This made me think about technology, or lack there of, and it's place in contemporary work.
Obviously when this episode of Friends was made, cell phones existed, but not like they do in today's society. And even in later episodes--I'm now on season 9-- they all have cell phones, but they are old clamshell style. No smartphones. It sure dates the show. Which is perfectly fine for a TV series. But a book?
I see distinct advantages to leaving out as much technology as you can. Authors want their books to live on and be read for years and years to come. No one wants a reader to read it and think the same things I thought while rewatching an old TV episode.
But on the other hand, leaving technology out isn't the best option either. It's a part of our lives. Most people use cell phones, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, etc…on a daily basis, not to mention computers, TVs, DVD, DVR, the way we listen to music. All these things evolve so fast. Something cutting edge now will be outdated in two years. I even think about a newbie writer working on their first novel. Usually it takes a while…years even. By the time it's done, the technology in that book is most definitely outdated.
But technology is a part of life, and leaving it out can make a contemporary piece of fiction feel very unrealistic.