“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
Some thirty years ago my mother would be running around the town looking for a pay phone to phone somebody who might have, or may have not the left the house to let them know she can’t make it to the lunch because her sister is having a baby at the hospital. Have I mentioned she was ringing my dad whose call she’d been waiting glued to the phone for days? And when she finally found one working, as soon as she picked up the phone she realizes she has no quarters left! Blooming hell! She manages to buy some smokes, she gets change, she runs, finds next pay phone, rings. Rings one more time, rings few more times. Obviously he’s already left as she’s already running 10 minutes behind. She thinks – if only there was a phone that I could carry in my bag so I could phone him to say I’m not coming!
On the other side of the story, he’s my twenty something dad, patiently waiting for her at the cinema lobby, film is about to start, she’s not here, he waits another hour. He’s upset because he realises my mother stood him up. And worried if something bad happened, or she’s waiting for him somewhere else. Or may be he wishes he had asked that secretary with huge breast out instead? All this anticipation has blown up in the air, he thinks “If only there was a phone that I could carry in my pocket so I could phone her to ask “Where are you?” .
Frankly, must be by some wicked miracle I’m even alive!
Now, I’m a kid of the 90s. For real. As much as I would like to label myself as “millennial” just for kicks of feeling younger and part of the future generation who’s saving the planet, but I’m older than that. I grew up through MC Hammer, Nirvana and Backstreet Boys, I was Emma from spice girls and I had a massive crush on every boy who had bowl haircut. I wore double denim and a choker and it couldn’t get any worse than that. Luckily, today I’m a 28 year old single woman who hates anything 90s’.
Also I am considering myself a technologically savvy, I mean I was around when tamagotchi came out, I had 3. I was there through the first chat rooms, spending hours on-line chatting to a boy who lived in a neighbor city. It couldn’t get any better than that. The joy of simply talking to somebody who shares your interests for Sims, art, travel, or who shares your pain of going to school and dealing with angry parents. And then there was this moment of scanning in your photograph and sending it to him, waiting for him to reply with their own photo and the sheer relieve when he is actually – normal, even cute. That 14 years ago. It’s a lot scarier these days. I genuinely wish I could unsee things I’ve seen on Chatroullete and Tinder.
I don’t mean to sound like an stagnant golden age thinker or conspiracy theorist who believes that online activities make us socially retarded, but I probably will. Last weekend I went to see “Men, women and children” by Jason Reitman and despite it’s very low ratings – I actually found it very truthful to our reality. Do I wish there was no internet or texting? Absolutely not. It’s an integrated part of our daily lives, it’s saves us time, it makes us better connected, quite literally removing borders and shrinking distances. There is a party on the internet and everybody want to be at it. Yet, somehow I’m not getting the memo.
Instant messaging isn’t an alternative to RL (a.k.a. Real Life ) social interaction. It doesn’t sustain the friendship (unless you are thousands of miles apart – then its an exception). Maintaining relationships over the internet with people who live in the same city is simply new age lazy, unless you are fifteen pretending to be an adult, chances of which i don’t exclude. My first world problems are getting even more complex when I hear how messaging allows an individual to express his or hers feelings easier in a “typed” form than saying it to their faces, while toddlers in UK are showing signs of increased antisocial behaviour related to constant tweeting, messaging and tumlr’ing. Now that’s the generation that is supposed to rule the world. Nice.
My real worry is I’m not like that. I’m old school kind of girl. I like getting coffees, cocktails or meals with people who I can see and touch. I like calling people, hearing their voices. Did you know you can hear somebody SMILE over the phone? How cool is that! But there is a big problem with this picture called Real Life. Many people prefer not to have any interaction in the real world to start with. I had number of guys who’d prefer to talk to me texting for literally hours telling me about all our great conversations we have. I have two problems with that – I can’t type fast because my fingers are too fat , second, I have better things to do. Like write this blog post for example.
Paradox becomes when? Although internet makes everything we ever wanted a click away, you could actually say so much more in an hour of RL conversation than texting. Surely, if you have two hours to spare texting me all evening (quite possibly sitting next to your girlfriend) , meeting me for an hour wouldn’t be that much of a problem. Logical? At least to me. Best one though is “sexting” – it’s like a phone sex, over Whatsapp. Anyone would agree that a real thing is much better than typing profanities to somebody on the other end of the conversation who could be errm bidding for shoes on eBay? Not for this fella I know. I tried, I had a great laugh, I poured myself a glass of vino and admitted – I’m too old for this shit.
The ultimate dilemma – is it socially retarded to have relationships with people online or is it socially retarded to refuse to have relationship online?
Is there something fundamentally wrong with you if you prefer meeting people face to face? Is antisocial to tell somebody on Facebook chat – i’m too busy to have this intense conversation with you while typing and making pancakes at the same time because I’m hungry? Since I’m a social dinosaur I might be in a big trouble. In fact I am because last guy I “suggested” to meet instead of “having great chats” on Facebook politely declared that he is very busy and he’ll “see me later”. What a funny choice of words used on social network site anyway.