They are all a means to promote social voyeurism and encourage some form of narcissism. Everybody look at me, I’m going to the bathroom! YAY ME! Woohoo! Can you HEAR me? Actually, it would be more accurate to ask if anyone READ me, but I digress.
I’m sick today!
I did my LAUNDRY!
Wow, this truly is fascinating stuff! But, as fascinating as it might be to some, I’m certain that my Facebook/Twitter friends and followers prefer to read updates that are a little less mainstream – like… ‘I’m going to do some naked mud wrestling tonight!‘
Sure, I’ve been guilty of posting mundane updates, for no other reason other then the fact that I was bored at the time, but, for the most part it’s never really been about getting attention. In fact, a friend once asked me why I bothered posting Facebook updates if I didn’t want people commenting on them to begin with. I mean after all, Facebook IS a social network isn’t it? Isn’t the inherent purpose of Facebook to interact with other people? Friends and strangers alike? At the time, I complained about the uselessness of some of the things that I read on walls and in news feeds. You know those people who just can’t control their urge to comment on absolutely every single post, even those that warrant no response? The ones who clutter your wall just so they can get the last word in? And those who start conversations on your wall, that you’re not even a part of? So annoying. My biggest complaint relative to such comments leads me to believe that perhaps I’m not meant to socialize using this interweb technique. Perhaps I should stick to the old-fashioned way of communicating – the one where face-to-face meetings were the norm and the internet was just a way to send emails or to look at porn. As it stands now, I admit that I use Facebook to promote my blog and to raise funds for my upcoming breast cancer run. Sometimes I post an update but I inadvertently find myself asking why I bother, and promptly delete it. In any case, those same people that I mentioned above don’t feel the need to comment when asked for important things like sponsorship or donations, even though it’s for a good cause. Go figure. Anyway, while I agree that Facebook is a great way to stay connected and to do some networking, I have to ask myself if it’s the best way to truly connect. What do you think? Has technology made us lose that loving feeling?
This brings me to my next point:
Mobile devices, Oh how I loathe thee! I have a cell phone that I never use, and I am constantly scolded for being unreachable. Why? Because I never answer it. Besides putting my phone on vibrate so I don’t hear it, and screening my calls, I often forget that I own a cell phone, which results in a dead battery. Oops.
As luck would have it, in January of 2009, I was informed that the former president of my division had put in a request for me. I held my breath as my boss gave me the news: I was going to be the not-so-proud owner of… a BlackBerry. CRAP. Boy did I try to get out of it – I don’t think anyone has ever fought so hard to avoid getting a free phone. For three months, I successfully dodged the BlackBerry bullet. My former boss wasn’t really pushing it on me, but alas, she wasn’t making the decision. I kept telling her I wouldn’t use it, and she kept telling me that was fine, but I was still getting it. Then one day, I got the dreaded call from IT:
“I don’t want it dude!”
“OK. But I just finished configuring your new BlackBerry…”
“I told you I don’t want it.”
“But it’s brand new! And you have to take it.”
“I’m not using it – give it to someone else. I’m sure there are plenty of gadget freaks out there who will take it!”
I still got it. Oh well.
My point in all of this is the following: When did it become a necessity to be connected at ALL times? When did we decide that it was OK to be reachable during every waking (and sometimes sleeping) hour? Personally, I prefer emailing my friends to messaging them on Facebook. I prefer meeting up in person over impersonal conversations via BBM. I want my friends to tell me when something big happens in their lives – not discover it in my news feed a week later. I want to enjoy a dinner out with friends, without having to see a row of iPhones and BlackBerrys sitting face up on the table, and everyone frantically checking these so that they don’t miss a call, a text or an IM. Get over it!
Sure, technology is great and offers a lot of benefits and opportunities to connect (were it not for the Internet, I would have no blog!), but sometimes we need to pull the plug and reboot ourselves. No?
What do you guys think? Can you go a day without your Smartphone?