Monday, January 25, 2010
Are you a Twit, saving Face or invading my space?
It happened again Saturday night. I walk into a public restroom to hear someone chatting away in full conversation at normal volume while completing the task at hand. Seriously people, have we gotten that addicted to staying in touch that we won’t even put the dang device down to care for personal issues? This addiction (fascination, obsession, compulsion) to electronic friendships truly disgusts me.
A number of things have happened over the last week that finally ticked me off enough to complete an essay that I have started many times. One of them was an email announcement by an artist regarding all the latest updates to her career. Let’s see….these included, 2 (or was it 3) Facebook pages and fan club pages, 2 websites, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a sales site. My first thought was when do you actually make any art? Those sites take a lot of time to maintain and update. Which adds to the question, who is getting on them all the time to follow you? Are these really “friends”? I find that aspect strange as well, this fascination with accumulating “friends”.
Those people are not friends. I don’t know who they are but could you call them at 3am in an emergency and they would say “I am on my way”? No, real friends to do that. Online friends only feed egos. Has our society gotten so insecure that it needs constant reinforcement from unknowns to make us feel important and wanted? Growing up, we had maybe 3 or four friends. That was enough. We called on land lines then met to talk. We talked at the bus stop, at lunch, maybe afterschool, but no calls in the evening, there was homework to do. Today, people seem to be in constant touch. Does what you do have to be so important to someone else that it must be shared immediately? We did not have this “self esteem” BS either. I think that whole concept stems from too much contact with others all the time. We used to make stuff, or do stuff or go places, and only a few people knew about it. Those who really mattered to us, and we took pride in doing something well, and took our lumps when it failed. But hundreds of our “friends” did not know about it. We did not take a photo of ourselves at every location in the nation and send it to the rest of the world. All this constant connection seems to feed the “look at me! I am somebody…really, look what I did, here is what I like, this is what I am doing right now…look at me, pay attention!!” To which I say who cares? I am a bit busy over here doing something worthwhile, not sitting on my butt in front of the computer (okay, I am right now….shush!) following you or occupying my thumbs with a palm sized pile of electronics to let you know that I am sitting here being a twit. Does it not all seem like a vicious circle?
Unfortunately, this is the way of our future and I best get used to it. I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to embrace it, and I do have to understand that I will never be as successful as I would like because I don’t have “friends” that need constant care and feeding on the internet. I do know that I will not sit in a public restroom and discuss my life with you, or stand in a grocery line taking out loud and looking like a lunatic (yes, you blue toothers look pretty stupid talking to machines, gas pumps and dead space, plus I know your business dealings, that your kid is a disappointment, and your wife is getting fat). I don’t want to buy into the addiction of the constant connection. Yes, it has its place where safety is concerned, or families that are apart for various reasons, or even to market ourselves nowadays, but newsflash, what you are doing every second, of every day is not all that exciting. You may think so, and others want you to think so about them. But think about it…are you more interested in getting the word out about yourself to others, than you are about following up with others who contact you? Are you that interested in your fellow man or are you more interested in your fellow man knowing all about you? If somebody is really your friend, then meet them for lunch, know their birthday and send a card, listen to their concerns without sharing your own….
Just call me a dinosaur. I think of electronic media like cars. When the car was invented, it changed the world; it has exploded as an industry over the years and become an essential part of our existance as a nation and as a civilization. But they have only gone so far….cars still have 4 wheels and need fuel to go. So too is the electronic device industry. It has exploded, changed our world and defined our civilization on this planet, but it can only go so far. Then it becomes a matter of just getting newer versions of the same thing that has fancier accessories, exactly like a car, newer versions of the same thing with fancier accessories, but still comes with 4 wheels for the most part. I like my old van (email) and its trailer (website) and its new heated seat (blog) but that is all I need for now.
If you need the emotional support of imaginary friends, then by all means stay involved in that support group. My plea is to please don’t share your lives with me in the restroom, at the store, in line, at a movie, on a plane, in the waiting room, and so forth. I don’t need to know all about your boyfriend problems, your rash, your twitter stalker from another state, your Facebook follower who sends inappropriate photos and also take note, your space is invading my space and I don’t mean on the internet. And just for the record, I hope the rash was not related to the boyfriend issue, I wanted to hear the rest of the story, but somebody needed to wash their hands.