Stalked by Technology

FacebookTwitter… This blog…

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!

Look how many friends I have!

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:

“Hi Ann…”

“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?



~A~

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13 thoughts on “Stalked by Technology

  1. I do love Facebook, just for the keeping in touch and sharing photos part of it. I have some people that literally update their statuses every hour on the hour, with every little detail of their lives, their children’s lives, what they ate, what workouts they did. It’s crazy! I try to offer minimal information, and just when I feel like it!
    Having just returned from Cuba, I realize how great Facebook is to keep in touch and share photos with the people we’ve met there. Some of them will be life long friends, while some will be on until my next “Friend Clean-up” which I do everytime I reach 200 friends. Basically, if we’ve not kept in touch on a personal level since I added you, you get the axe!
    But I do love to text. I think the keys on my Blackberry are starting to go, because tying is getting a little more frustrating because I have to press harder and I can’t type as fast. I think I love to text, because while I love interacting with people in person, I am not a big phone person.

    • I’ve mostly stopped posting updates on FB and admit that I’m mainly using it to post the latest blog posts. If I were to create a fan page or group for the blog, I would likely never use my own FB page!

  2. For all that all the “social media” keeps people “connected” we as a society are losing our social skills. And although we can get hold of most people at any time at any corner of the universe, do we really need to know that you just finished your 5th latte of the day while driving your yellow convertible on Main St? Because we all know that you drive a beater and still live in the basement of your parent’s house. I personally don’t think we are truly connected anymore, just to our virtual lives where people can be whomever they want despite reality.

    • I completely agree with you Kelly. I am finding that people are being less civilized, and I think it’s because we don’t socialize face to face anymore. Sometimes it seems like the people we socialize with online, are nicer, and more ‘real’ then the people in our own lives.

  3. Well, I do love Facebook. I have spent most of my adult life moving all over the country and being far from family. Facebook made it easy to stay connected for free. Now, I was really surprised when I went to replace my cell phone (we have no land line) and there were only SIX options if I didn’t want to buy a smartphone (and the expensive package that goes with it). I text but I do not want to be connected 24/7. My favorite time growing up was on family vacations where there was no tv or radio or telephone. There was one pay phone in the campground for everyone. We unplugged for two weeks and reconnected as a family. Unfortunately, the Hubs isn’t 100% on board with continuing this tradition. 🙂

  4. Oh boy, these are my thoughts too. But just saying that I know I have a FB acct (never updated), a blog, I text, and now I *gasp* Twitter. I don’t know how I got sucked into the void of neverending non-personal interaction, but it’s happened.

    I think instead of attempting to halt it at all corners, you could slide into anything like this carefully, on your terms (like turn the phone off as soon as you’re done work) and still use your own means of interaction (phoning a friend to see what’s up).

    Then make sure you Twitter, FB status and blog about it so we all know about it ;).

  5. Personally I loathe facebook. My husband and I created a joint facebook account for the sole purpose of sharing pictures of the kids with his family. We don’t post updates or anything like that. So a few days ago I got an email for a friend request from someone I don’t want to talk to. Someone I have purposely removed from my life, trying to contact me. That’s the shit I hate.

    My smartphone has become a necessity for me. not because of social networking but because of all the medical issues that my kids and I have. All of our doctor information and appointment information is kept in my iPhone.I’m not a text freak, but I text some.
    Great post!

    • I am with you! I wrote a post called Fakebook a while ago which basically lists my reason for not loving that medium. One of the points had to do with the fact that people like to collect friends – people from say, high-school, that didn’t talk to me then… so why do you want to talk to me now? Fakebook! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I am always interested to hear what you have to say… but now get posting on your sequel!

  6. I don’t care about the phone part, but I LOVE to text. It’s like having a non-stop IM conversation from anywhere. Sure, I don’t always send replies as soon as I receive a text, but everyone knows that you’re not always able to “talk” and that’s okay.

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