I constantly see people online and yes, even in person, complaining about the “online experience”.
There are people that absolutely hate Google, Facebook, Twitter, and yet cannot tear themselves away from any of it. I was recently discussing this with a colleague at work, he complaining about how the world was “too connected” while furiously Googling something.
We spend more of our lives online than we do actually living our lives. Think about it for a moment; how much time in the day do you spend online? We’re all guilty of it by the way. I’m saying this just in case someone comments, “Well, Jim, here you are blogging. How’s that different?” Well, the difference is I’d love to go out in my backyard and shout this out, but all my neighbors are inside their homes reading this right now.
Or they’re retweeting this blog, thinking they’ve made a statement about – something. We’ve come to the point in human history where people are so attached to electronic devices, the place that they receive all of their information, that I sometimes wonder what would happen if all of a sudden, all cell services failed around the world. Let’s say it’s only for a day.
How about the Internet? What would happen if world-wide the Internet was down for even 24 hours? Would people be jumping out of buildings? Would humanity survive? I think the answer to that question is at best nebulous. Remember, I only mentioned a 24 hour outage.
How much time do any of us actually spend, face to face, with family, friends or acquaintances discussing the same things we discuss online? I would venture to say, based on my personal experience, little.
It’s easy to be anonymous online and “let your hair down” (okay, showing my age with that one) where most people would never confront another in the same way if they were speaking in person. Sometimes though, no, mostly I think, that if we spent more face time discussing the issues of the day maybe, just maybe, some of those issues might actually be solved.
There’s no way to misinterpret, or misrepresent another point of view if the other person is right there.
Of course, I’m just daydreaming here. Everything will remain as it is and over time, we’ll become even more addicted to our technology than we are today. Pretty soon, we’ll actually have no “real” friends, much like what Facebook is today. Seriously, does anyone have 20,000 “friends”? Do you actually think having a 5 figure list of “followers” means you’re really popular or does it mean that a lot of people think your a dumbass?
Think about it.
One thought on “The Social Media Addiction”
Outside of my work life, the primary benefit to discussing anything online is that I can discuss atheism and the separation of church and state. These are two things I don’t have much opportunity to talk about offline. So yes, I’d certainly miss the opportunity to interact with other atheists and secularists if the Internet disappeared. I suppose if I lived in a more enlightened area, this would be less of an issue.