I have a cellphone.
I talk (certainly not as much).
I surf the web.
I check the news, weather, and email.
I watch videos, listen to music, and even play games.
I post and poke,
blog and block,
create and comment,
learn and like,
share and search,
log in and log out….
Yet, still I wonder if I have said anything at all. And worse, if I have been heard.
Now I am no real blogger (just ask Michael how long it took me to get him this blog) and although I have a tumblr, its pretty worthless since I only use it to follow others, and my post are about as frequent as an accurate weather prediction in the state of Indiana (which if you are not a Hoosier, is just not that often). Further, I don’t have Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, and I like to think I have half a Facebook since I get on it once a month (unless I am having a somewhat meaningful discussion with someone who I have no other means of contacting them).
I say this not to brag or boast, but simply point out I am truly a weird one among my peers. If the internet can be viewed as wings, I would be considered a penguin which for some reason doesn’t care to fly in the air of social media. Perhaps, its because I don’t have much to say or joke. Or perhaps I don’t have the motivation to ‘stay connected’. Or perhaps I simply want to resist the rushing current, which society hits you with like a fire-hose. Or perhaps I am ‘old fashioned’ as they say and I like home-cooked meals, books more than movies/TV, and would rather hand-write than type (before this blog gets more ironic, I should note I do have a handwritten blog- its called a journal).
Regardless of the nature of my resistance, there is one thing I have not resisted. As I note the huge benefits of this technological advancement in communication, I also note the fusion that is taking place with this new tool. It has become a staple, a pleasure, a must. It’s expanded not only the reach, but also the way we communicate. Technology has allowed us to grow another limb… and its called the cellphone.
Once again, I haven’t resisted this growth, and I don’t plan on amputating it anytime soon either. In fact, I think that would be the wrong approach all together. Rather, I think the best way to steer a horse is on its back rather than its side. Further, the benefits that cellphones have provided have great practical value that shouldn’t be lost with the negatives.
However, the negatives can be very real.
The most apparent problem I have found is that social media constantly tells us a lie that we must be present in more than one location (dare I say, omnipresent). Now that’s a big job for anyone, even if we have added the extra limb. While the demands may vary (humor, insight, our ‘personal life’ a.k.a. what we are doing at this very moment and our mood about it, etc.), they are constantly expected by the competition for likes, re-post, and pokes. And sadly, not playing the game is still losing because now you are outdated and out of touch. So instead we stress the need for the texting landscape which demands instant response. It’s this strange attempt to have a conversation while still doing everything else, yet still expecting a consistent replies. Yet, the problem isn’t that we communicate too much. The problem is we don’t communicate at all. The sad reality is in our trying to be present everywhere, we are present nowhere.
As we constantly try to live in other spaces through virtual places, we miss out on our life and the very people and things in front of us. We may be in the same physically proximity of one another, but our new limbs allows us to leave the presence of our own presence. Due to this, we may miss out on the people, the things, or the work that could provide us with a conversation, a experience, or productivity that would change our lives or the lives of others. Once again, I am not calling for amputation, but rather the realization that if we continue in this reckless unawareness, the extra limb may enable us the reach of a giant, but only the Warmth of a Robot…