Californication’s Hank Moody said it best:
HM: People seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us, but all it’s really given us is Howard Dean’s aborted candidacy and 24 hour a day access to kiddie porn. People… they don’t write anymore, they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. It just seems to me it’s just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King’s English.
Interviewer: Yet you’re part of the problem — you’re out there blogging with the best of them.
HM: Hence my self-loathing.
(Love that man. If you’ve never seen the show, then you’re missing out.)
Just a decade or two ago, all of these social media apps and sites and modern-day struggles were nonexistent. Now, the majority of our generation (and the generations preceding and following) are obsessed–maybe even addicted– to our cell phones, laptops, tablets, and computers.
People cross streets and walk through parking lots with their eyes glued to their phone, unaware of potentially placing themselves in danger of a moving vehicle. Friends party together yet spend the entire time documenting their experience through their camera lenses, adding photos and videos to Snapchat memories rather than making real ones. Couples go out to eat together and lay in bed beside each other in silence, connecting with anybody inside the little rectangle in their hands but the one directly in front of or beside them. Mothers and fathers drive around while their child rides along in the passenger seat, avoiding conversation at all costs, staring into an abyss of an online social life that’s falsely illusioned to be reality.
It’s disturbing to watch happen in public. It’s also extremely bothersome when the person you’re with is doing it. It’s even more painful when you realize you’re at fault for doing it too.
Sure, technology has drastically improved our everyday lives in ways — that I won’t argue.
The world of tech, software, and digital marketing has created millions of jobs across the globe. I earn my living by working from a laptop 50+ hours every week and witness first-hand how digital utilities save us an insane amount of time and energy in completing tasks that would’ve taken 5x longer if done manually.
New inventions are created every single day that positively impact us and our environment. From gasless cars to medicines that cure the previously incurable, to tunnels that transport vehicles across cities in no time (shout out Elon Musk), to 3D printing, VR headsets, and beyond.
Social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, and Bumble enable us to connect with people we wouldn’t have been able to connect with without it. Just by performing a simple name search or swiping to the right, relationships can form and long-lost friends and family members are able to find and communicate with one another.
We can literally form bonds with anybody through dating apps, even those who live 500 miles away. It’s so easy to swipe and see who’s out there and meet people we wouldn’t have met otherwise without these platforms.
But what happens when you match somebody? Who messages first? Do either of you even message at all, or do you linger in each other’s inbox collection of the unpursued? How long do you take to respond? Who stops answering first? Who wins in the contest of giving the least fucks? Or rather who loses in the contest of giving the least fucks?
In a recent conversation, my coworker who’s in her mid-forties had said she could never have survived the dating world as it exists today. Similarly, here’s a text conversation I just had with my mom when asking her to help me pick a featured image for this post:
Although her suggestion was more appropriate, for some reason I chose a photo of a photo of a sunset.
We live in a time when Facebook comments are equivalent to personally reaching out to someone via phone call or an in-person interaction; when the amount of likes you receive on your Instagram selfie validate your worth and give you a false sense of fulfillment; when “good morning” texts with kissy face and heart emojis show more affection than actually spending quality time with each other.
When does this stop? How does this stop? When do we take a step back and realize how dependent we’ve become, and when do we do something about it? Have our lives been simplified to the point of no return? Can we even return?
I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’m over this generation’s, yes, including my own, reliance on technology. It’s time to put our phones down and out of sight and truly live life through our own eyes and not through our cameras. It’s time to have conversations and make real-life connections rather than digital ones. I don’t know what it’s going to take to make this happen, or if it even can happen at this point. All I know is that it’s about time for a change, and that time is now.