Not so long ago I took a break from the social space for a short period. Not a big deal for most, but being that Social Media is my job, it became a big deal. There was an array of reasons why, but the main cause was down to a form of information overload I was suffering from in which Brian Solis coined as Social Network Fatigue.
Yesterday Tech Crunch’s Alexia posted an article entitled ‘I’d Rather Watch Instagram Than A Movie.‘ Highlighting how Hollywood is no doubt competing with what she described as ‘kill time’ startups. Fair point.
The post sparked a variety of interesting comments, some agreeing with Alexia’s argument and some against. I’m not going to debate the difference between Instagram or movies, because a person can spend their free time doing whatever they please. But from a society perspective, the mere fact that this kind of argument has legs is alarming.
The drugs don’t work, they just make you worse
Two years ago I wrote a post about how spoiled by technology we all are, with one excerpt being; “Technology can be just like a drug… Give someone a little taster and if they like it, they will want a little more.
Give them a lot more and they get addicted, they forget how they lived without it and begin to lose control.”
That was then, and this was one woman’s comment under the Tech Crunch article reaffirming my excerpt:
Hollywood aside, this fragmented behavior and loss of attention concerns me. I agree that the tech universe has found a way to entertain the masses. That said, social media can resolve to be a simple addiction rather than a habit with benefit.
Take heroin for example. It feels good…it numbs your serotonin receptors into submission. Without our understanding of heroin’s affect on the brain, we would all probably assume heroin was a great idea. But what about social media’s affect on the brain? What about the fact that most people can’t wait in line, have dinner, watch their wife give birth, etc without re-directing their attention to a group of mostly strangers?
Long term thinking is being affected by our constant diversions and short attention spans. So…go kill Hollywood if that’s your intention but try not killing your brain in the process. Do you think Plato could have written The Republic if he was constantly hounded by Twitter notifications? Social media has an amazing benefit but have we all forgotten the simple benefit of thinking in our own heads? If you can’t last 24 hours without your phone and social media, you’re an addict and as funny as that sounds, it’s not.
She’s right isn’t she? That comment was by Caroline Giegerich,a Huffington Post Blogger and Social Media Consultant.
A world in denial
So where does this all end up? In a world where residents of cities like London already live in fear of communication with strangers, afraid to make conversation while we commute and generally get extremely anxious about the unknown; how are we really moving into a better connected world? A world where we attend concerts, momentous events and amazing festivals only to experience them through the 4.5 inches held in our hands, exchanging the emotional excitement so that we can garner the attention from people we don’t even know. For what reason? Because we ‘crave’ the buzz and egotistical thrill of being in the spotlight. Still not addicted?
A moment of clarity
In the same comment thread, another user posted a link to a video of a poet known as Marshall ‘Soulful’ Jones performing a piece titled ‘Touchscreen’. Powerful, entertaining and though provoking. I have transcribed the video into words for all of you 140 character quoting whores.
Listen. Appreciate. Acknowledge. Think.
Introducing the new Apple iPerson complete with multi touch and volume control, doesn’t it feel good to touch, doesn’t it feel good to touch, doesn’t it feel good to touch.
My world is so digital, I have forgotten what that feels like.
It used to be hard to connect when friends formed cliques, but now it’s even more difficult to connect now that clicks form friends.
But who am I to judge…
I face Facebook more than books face me hoping to book face to faces, I update my status 420 space to prove im still breathing; failure.
To do this daily means my whole web wide world would forget that I exist. But with 3000 friends online only 5 I can count in real life, why wouldn’t I spend more time in the world where there are more people that LIKE me. Wouldn’t you?
Here it doesn’t matter if I am an amateur person, as long as I have a pro-file, my smile is 50% genuine and 50% genuine-HD, you will need blu-rays to read the whites of my teeth, but im not that focused.
Ten tabs open, hoping, my problems can be resolved with a 1600 x 1700 revolution, this is a problem with this evolution, doubled over, we used to sit in tree tops, till we swung down and stand up right, then someone slipped a disc, now we’re doubled over at desktops.
From the Garden of Eden, to the branches of Macintosh, Apple picking has always come at a great cost.
iPod, iMac, iPhone, iChat, I can do all of these things without making iContact.
We used to sprint to pick and store Blackberries, now we run to the Sprint store to pick Blackberrys, it’s scary.
I can’t hear the sound of mother nature speaking, over all that Tweeting, and along with it is our ability to feel as it’s fleeting.
You would think these headphone jacks inject in the flesh the way we connect, the disconnect, power ON. So we are powerless, they got us love drugged. Like e-pills, so we e-trade, e-mail, e-motion like e-commerce because now money can buy love, for 9.95 a month – click!
To proceed to checkout – click! To X out where our hearts once were – click!
I’ve uploaded this hug, I hope she gets it – click!
I’m making love to wife, I hope she’s logged in – click!
I’m holding my daughter over a Skype conference call while shes crying in the crib in the next room – click!
So when my phone goes off in my hip, I touch and I touch and I touch, because in a world where there are voices that are only read and laughter is never heard or I’m so desperate to feel that I hope the technologic in reverse the universes so the screen can touch me back, and maybe it will, when our technology is advance enough to make us human again.