Quicksand

So I have no idea if any of you are in the same boat, but this is my first blog post, coming right on the heels of my first ever tweet (I know, I know, I’m a couple of years behind the game). And I have no idea what I am doing – so here goes nothing.

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By 2018 everyone knows everything that everyone is doing at every moment of the day thanks to ever-present social media. I understand how people and personal interactions are moving to phones and computers over in person. I’m not a fan of it to be honest, but I get it. And honestly, as much as I hate it, I play into the allure around social media just as much as the next person. It’s so easy. I pull out my phone (which is basically a stream of pure information, but I’ll get to that later) and I can see who is where in real-time – there is literally no hiding anymore. As hard as you try to hide or avoid people, it’s almost impossible to use any sort of social media and not make some sort of slip up. There’s too many options: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram… one of them is going to give you away. But I’m not the first person to tell you this. You know how social media can be used in a social setting.

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What is more jarring to me is the prevalence of technology and social media in a household. For the life of me I cannot understand parents who basically use technology in the place of parenting. The kids are bored? Give them a phone instead of having to entertain them. The kids want to hang out with their friends? Give them a phone to FaceTime their friends instead of organizing some sort of get-together. I get that kids take a lot of time, but that’s kind of implied knowledge that everyone should understand when they decide to have kids. It’s not a 9-5 job, it’s a life.

Over Christmas break I went to lunch with my brother and my parents. My parents are a little more old-fashioned than most when it comes to using phones and technology (They just figured out emojis, it’s a big step!), so naturally they stick with the whole “No phones at the table” rule that seems to be a bit outdated now. I get where they are coming from though. People for some reason would rather be seeing pictures of what people are doing miles and miles away than actually interact with the people who are sitting an arm’s length away. Anyway, at one point in the meal I looked around and saw a mother with two little kids, probably around 10. What I couldn’t understand was that both kids were sitting at the table, on their phones, with headphones on. And the mom didn’t care. She sat in silence eating her pizza. I don’t get it – it feels like a cop-out to me.

People are moving so fast in adopting new technology and trying to apply it to everything in their lives. No, I don’t need a toilet with Bluetooth, and yes, that is a real thing. And it always seems to me like it is the people who are the last to adopt a new technology are the ones who are more likely to adopt it with reckless abandon. For those who watch Rick and Morty, awesome you’ll probably understand this reference and you have a great taste in TV. For those that don’t, give it a try – I swear it’s great. When I thought of this I immediately thought of the Rick and Morty episode about the Purge. Early adopters are like Rick. They are up for it at the very beginning and they think it’s great. And then they get sick of it. The really late adopters are like Morty. They try to hold off for as long as they can, but when they finally cave they’re all gung-ho about it. And they can’t stop. People claim that all millenials do is look at their phones. I think older generations are worse. We may be looking at our phones a ton, but we can multi-task with it. As soon as they see a screen, my parents lose all contact with everything else.

With this class I am really looking forward to taking a look at how people are going to balance the growth of technology and social media as we move into a more and more digital age. It’s Darwinism – you evolve and survive, or you stay in the past and get left behind. At some point everyone and everything that wants to remain will have to go digital. I know that I’m (super) risk averse, and maybe I’m just behind the curve like I am with Twitter, but it seems to me like people are rushing headfirst into quicksand.

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3 comments

  1. This is very valid – what concerns me is that we will lose the ability to communicate. When you converse it is completely different

  2. I definitely relate to this post. The way I was raised, I am used to putting my phone away not only at the dinner table, but also when I am sitting around hanging out with my friends. A lot of times I notice that the room gets silent because everyone is consumed with something on their phones – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, you name it. I don’t really get it. If you’re around your friends, I feel like you should try to enjoy their company. I also totally get what you were saying about parents being more easily consumed with their phones. Mine do the same thing when they theirs up. They think I’m on mine a lot, but at least I can multi-task better than they can!

  3. I’ll be interested to see your final blog post at the end of the class. I bet you’ll be surprised at how far your thinking comes in a short period of time. That’s my biggest gripe with many companies and employees, they’re afraid and mystified and don’t realize how easy it is to get up to speed (with the right guide, of course).

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