I am living in 2014 yet sometimes I feel that my thoughts, ideals and methods are still a few decades back, or rather a few generations.
Like everyone I know around my age I own technical devices, a phone, laptop etc. This has become, dare I say it, an essential part to everyone’s daily life and in turn, daily distractions. I have a particular routine when I wake up. I am always up with the sun and take that time to check my Facebook, my Instagram and both my email accounts. While I boil the kettle for my coffee I check Candy Crush Saga and see if I have any WhatsApp messages. This is all before my other half wakes up! I sit at my desk around 8am. Check a multitude of social sites on my PC and again check Facebook. If I were to count the minutes and hours I spend on social media and checking games I would be astonished I am sure. I am also sure there is an app for monitoring that, pun duly intended. I have gotten to the stage where I leave my phone in my bag sometimes, in order to stop myself taking photographs and checking what’s going on online. I have even said to myself a few times when experiencing something new that I don’t actually want to take a photograph of it, I want to enjoy it in this moment alone and if I want to do it again, I won’t look at the picture, I will go back and do it again!
I look around at how a screen has become a gateway to an entire world that never existed before. One where I am a major culprit of photographing my food, with the ever-embarrassment of the flash against the white plate and fellow patrons in the restaurant thinking we have an indoor lightening storm! I take selfies, often with much retrospective thoughts where I wonder which side of the narcissistic wall I am on, am I confident in myself and therefore take a photograph, am I bragging about what, who or where I am or is this a poor excuse of, ” look at me, look at me”, going on where anyone who sees it will roll their eyes as they scroll through my posts to another person’s. I often try compare instant gratification of today to good things come to those who wait of yesteryear. Where a photograph was on a film camera, you waited ages to see the actual picture, you paid for everything you took and you always had a hard copy of it. Nowadays I take more photos of my cat than there ever were of me as a child and I was the first grandchild and child in the family!
Games and sites where you find out useless information, or only barely interesting information and images are the bane of my existence and at the same time, my addiction. I sincerely wish that games for devices never existed. It is the, as I wake up, just before I go to bed, real conversation blocker, get out of awkward silences that bother me so much. You are not only making yourself so very antisocial, you are being rude even if you are not the only person on your device in that room, you are taking away the importance of face-to-face conversation and, really, you do not need this in your life. It has no substance, it will not get your body fit, it will not increase your knowledge, it will not clean your house, it will not make dinner and it will certainly not get you that promotion at work. If I spent the same amount of time I do on useless sites on my writing, sewing, painting, jogging around the block, meeting friends for coffee or even reading a book (a real one with pages!) I would be more accomplished, also more fit by now.
Sometimes I look forward to power outages, a time to talk to my other half, even though he is in throes of frustration over the lack of power on the tablet and no access to his PC (note: I am engaged to an online gamer, web designer, web developer, graphic designer, programmer, photographer, troll the internet for hours amazing man). This is the time to go for a walk because you can’t watch the latest episode in the series, to make a braai and have dinner straight off the fire, not only will this be a social bonding experience, you have your light and heat you require and great flame grilled food for dinner. Be intimate with the person you love, some things are more fun in the dark. I now know why families were much larger a few generations ago, yes the cost of living was different but instead of updating their Facebook they were actually having sex.
If I could have it my way the internet would be a proper search engine of factual information and IMs – there to learn and to talk to those who are not in front of you. If only I could have these two things, without the pages and pages of ridiculous commenting, the stupid posts people put up, share, favourite, like, etc. Without telling the world what they ate for breakfast, how awful the traffic is (by the way, get off your phone while you are driving!) and way too many, “look at me look at me”, images the world would be a better place. We would enjoy conversations where we don’t know every moment of the other person’s day because we follow them online. I recently had three examples of this where I saw people I haven’t seen for a while and the very first words out of their mouths were to congratulate me on my engagement. It took away my excitement (and choice) of telling them. I didn’t get to express my happiness and show them my ring because they had already seen and liked it on Facebook. I am a culprit of this too. I live vicariously through Facebook and have some mean stalking skills. I know who you’re dating, who they used to date, where you work and I really shouldn’t know this info, this info took an hour of my life away where I could have just spoken about it to you, in person when we next meet. However, because I know you from A to Z already and the same for all of your besties, acquaintances and frenemies I really have nothing to say to you when I see you so I will probably bow my head once more and check my emails while you update your Instagram.