Like celibacy for your technology.
Lately, I’m thinking about the technology of “Social Networking” and how we sometimes forget who is supposed to be in charge.
Cultivating an aura of mystery is extremely difficult in this day and age. I mean, how could Clint Eastwood's ‘Man with no Name’ possibly ride into town and get everyone’s attention if they simply googled him and realized, that he was merely Fred Smith: Hobbies - whopping bad guys with ax handles, cultivating manly stubble, being pale and mysterious.
Kinda loses the edge, yanno?
In short... Too much information is too much information.
So when Facebook recently got caught out again with a huge privacy breach, I was grateful that I never joined. Over the past few years I have been asked, and sometimes nagged to join FB, but have resisted. I already have a blog, a YouTube account, a cell phone, an email address and a snail mail address. If folks need to get a hold of me, they can. But no one needs to know my current state of mind every twenty minutes. If I’m bitchy my kid didn’t take out the garbage, then the only one who really needs to know that is the kid in question.
Yet, the peer pressure is enormous and the level of resentment that I am not ‘in the FB loop’ is palatable at times. And yet, daily internet drama goes on without my participation. I can glean the major points during infrequent get-togethers with friends/family. I confess that the Christmas card summing up of the past year is my preferred method of letting the world at large know what I’ve been up to (with appropriately edited pictures), which they can either read or toss into a bin as they see fit.
I have Internet friends I have never actually met, but about whom I know more daily personal details than I do of my own children. I do not think this is a healthy thing. I used to feel guilty if I didn’t update my blog weekly and I wondered why. Who or what is supposed to be in charge here? Common sense has gone right out the window for a new generation that knows no other way to live.
Despite new laws and huge fines, cops are pissed that people STILL insist on texting while driving. Seriously people, is it worth death/maiming just to text: “R U coming 2 the gig 2nite? Whoa! 18 wheeler... BRB.”
A CBC interview this morning blames such idiotic behavior on ‘rebelliousness’. I doubt that’s the entire story. We are trained these days to let technology dictate to us. A phone beeps and we are conditioned to pick it up that very second. Even with voice mail, caller ID and hands free options, it’s like people believe the planet will stop in its rotation (causing Stephan Hawking to totally flip out and reassess physics from square one) if we don’t pick up that call from “unknown caller’ right now.
Technology is made for Man, not Man for the Technology. I know some argue that they must be on call 24/7, but unless one is an essential service IE: head of state, police, EMS or fire dept., I cannot see the sense in it. We all need quiet time to let our minds and body rest. If you take your cell on vacation you are missing the point or R&R entirely. Technology-free vacations/retreats at B&B’s and monasteries are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. Until you go cold turkey, you may not appreciate just how much stress and time suckage your laptop, TV and cell phone adds to your life.
Add to that the constant media barrage of information, usually a form of advertising. Channel surfing is NOT resting. Whether actually interesting or completely useless, it is mentally exhausting. We no sooner turn off the TV and put up at sign in the door that reads: ‘No flyer or junk mail’, then we find telemarketers bombing our cells with unwanted calls around dinner time, or flyers shoved under our wipers or pop-ups in the middle of the news article we wanted to read. Fark.com rightly points out that much or our news isn’t news at all. Journalism is a novelty these days.
For example… The Toronto Star did an actually investigation into the deplorable state of certain nursing homes. I was riveted. OMG! Real, actually content!?? WHAT A CONCEPT!! I felt renewed hope for the resurrection of print journalism as, Ironically, the Globe and Mail blathers on about all the new shiny colours they have in their much advertised redesign. I weep for our national newspaper if this is how they think they will woo readers. And they are not the only ones.
Another case in point: Just recently, London’s A Channel (CTV) actually had a 3-4 minute segment on the KFC Double Down vaguely disguised as a news story. I was justifiably pissed. There’s an municipal election next week and crazy shit happening all over town but they actually showed a live newscast on a fucking fast food sandwich. It’s hard enough getting real local news in London. Watching some “journalist” stuff his cake hole with a free fried chicken sandwich is not journalism, A-Channel! Wake the hell up, already! It’s insulting. It’s garbage like that that made me cut the cable and cancel paper subscriptions in the first place.
Summing up then…
Unplug yourselves, set you limits and take personal control of how you let mass media and communication dictate the limited time you have on this planet. Demand quality or deny them access.
The first step is realizing one has a choice. As social media and digital technology become increasingly intrusive and subversive, then the prospect of becoming a digital hermit becomes more appealing, and frankly, sensible.
So, of course, I immediately felt compelled to get online and blog about it.
Wait… am I doing this right?