Technology is a wonderful thing…….in moderation. The ability to email or text anyone, anywhere in the world is remarkable when you think that a mere 30 years ago one had to wait for an overseas operator to ‘get a free line’, and that could be 2 days from now at 2am, take it or leave it. Traditional mail took days, even weeks, for international delivery. (remember the excitement of getting a letter or card in the mail?) We can do our banking and taxes online, preboard with airlines, shop, post messages and photos for all to see, and publish anything we want (like blogs and Facebook) Technology has provided a wonderful avenue for all to anonymously vent their thoughts, good or bad, but I have to question the motivation. Are we happier getting instant messaging versus the personal handwritten note or the carefully selected card? Remember the anticipation of getting something in the mail?
I am surrounded by people who literally live on Facebook. A group of women are out shopping and after ‘scoring’ on a big sale, they take a picture of their haul, right in the store, and post it on Facebook, immediately. Within minutes, one proudly shrieks, “I’ve got 39 likes”. (so I take this to mean there’s at least 39 people out there sitting around waiting for a post from anyone, about anything – how mundane does your life have to be to resort to this?)
In another scenario, a friend was out for lunch and couldn’t resist posting a photo of the ‘foot-long dog-with all the works’ he bought from street vendor. (seriously?) Sweet mother of Mary, has the world gone mad? Or are we just so bored with our own lives that we see this as interesting? Was this the intention of Facebook?
I was out to dinner recently with 2 other couples and we were having a great debate about the publications of a famous author. The banter was lively and interesting (I believe they call this being social,,, remember what that’s like?) but too early in the discussion someone pulls out a cell phone and loudly confirms the answers, according to the internet. (Now there’s a conversation killer, thanks). I’m not saying we don’t want to know the answers, but half the fun of learning something in a social setting is the conversation leading up to it. If all we wanted was answers and information we wouldn’t need anyone. We could just lock ourselves in a room and surf the net all day. (Who needs human interaction?)
I get that Facebook is a great way for one to share photos and information with a select group of family and friends. It’s also a wonderful way for businesses to stay connected to their public, share updates, and advertise. So when did it become the avenue for us to consistently ‘share’ the excruciating minutiae of every aspect of our mundane lives? (could this be a form of technology abuse?)
I love to see your family photos and I want updates that are important in your life, but I don’t care what you had for breakfast, nor am I interested in a photo of what you bought at Walmart. (and if there’s anyone out there who is entertained by such activity, they have way bigger problems than an addiction to social media,,,) Human beings are social creatures but the abuse of technology has rendered many anti-social. I absolutely draw the line at anyone bringing any form of technology unnecessarily into a social setting. It IS a conversation killer and nobody appreciates it.
Like everything in life technology is a gift. Use it responsibly. If you find yourself online in social media more than a couple of hours a day, you are seriously addicted. Force yourself to detach from your devices. Get a hobby. Take a course. Go shop the stores in person instead of online. Meet friends for dinner and make a rule that NO devices are to be used throughout the evening. You may be surprised at how much fun a good old fashioned conversation can be.