“Social Network” is a part of a lot of our lives now. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re already on twitter and facebook, you go to deviantart for your wallpapers and still lurk around orkut the odd day to see the old “testimonials”. I personally don’t remember the last time I spent a week away from a computer or a smart device that let me go online and at least check my email or facebook. The whole thing is phenomenal and amazing and no one really shuts up about it now. But as we are getting more and more “connected”, it makes us want more speed.
I can’t even imagine going back to my dialup days, when we used to wait for a “picture” to load. Now, it’s all videos and interactive applications and a whole lot more. All this speed, these high data rates, all this information has had two negatives impacts on us.
For one, there is so much information around us that it’s easy to forget what is important and what was the important thing that happened. One day we are focused on Tunisia, the next it’s Libya; once the earthquake comes we completely forget there was a dispute going on in Africa. We don’t cry anymore when listening about a bomb blast that killed 150 people. We’re getting desensitized because of the amount of information that we go through each day. The bad doesn’t look so grim anymore because there is always something worse waiting to be heard in the next 24 hours.
The second negative impact isn’t that severe but has a long-term effect on us, and by us I mean the modern man as a collective. We are losing the ability to be fascinated easily and that for me is a big thing. At the same time we are losing the ability to enjoy anything fully, because there is always so much of it available and with so much ease.
We own 100Gb of songs, that would take 3 months to play on itunes. We no longer enjoy the concept of a single, we no longer enjoy putting the cassette in a player or a record on a gramophone and sit back, relax and enjoy it. We always have our one hand on shuffle and it’s always used more than it should be.
We have 10,000 images “somewhere” in the computer. Most of which we won’t ever see again. We don’t sit down any longer as a family and enjoy the 20 photos from our childhood, where we were all a little chubby and were still trying to make sense of these big people making faces, whenever they saw us.
We have 500 channels and our favorite button is the next button. I don’t personally remember watching a full feature on tv without switching. It’s like second instinct now, trying to look for what else is on.
We have 300 facebook friends on average, not even 50 of which we meet or even make an effort to meet in real life. Birthdays even aren’t the same, someone wishing you used to mean something, they took the time out to actually remember your birthdate and those little surprises were amazing. Now, it’s a big list of people I really couldn’t be bothered about spamming my wall and hidden amongst them are the two guys who actually remembered your birth date.
So, what I’m trying to say is the abundance of information, trying to help us learn more, watch more, listen more and be informed more has somehow taken the fun out of it somewhere in between. We have seen all kinds of explosions Hollywood had to offer. We have taken 3D tours of cities we will never visit and listened to bands that we never knew existed. It’s getting harder and harder to fascinate us day by day and with that, it’s getting harder to smile and enjoy those little things in life.
Let’s just not download the whole discography, just that one album and put it on repeat. Let’s buy that film and sit down with the family and only watch it on a weekend. Let’s just read the newspaper once in the morning and absorb more stuff than skimming through a million different pages.
Let’s not lose the ability to be fascinated and more importantly let’s not lose the ability to feel.