We all know how this goes. You wake up, slapping your hand on your nightstand looking for that small flat piece of metal. Blue light blinding you, stirring that sleep clouded mind into action. It’s as if you’re not fully awake before your daily dose of technology. You gracefully roll out of bed and stumble into the kitchen to make yourself some hard earned breakfast. While eating that PB+J sandwich you mindlessly scroll through the social media of your choosing, checking for updates as though your life depends on it. Oh look, Art_lover425 liked your post. Why on God’s green earth anyone would care whether someone from the other side of the planet likes your photo of your dog wearing a hat is beyond you, but you do. You do care. A smile makes it onto your face and your day is made.
Isn’t that strange? The validation that one seeks from total strangers? You don’t know why this means so much to you, and at that moment you don’t really care why. It’s 7.30 in the morning. The world could burn and you wouldn’t care if it meant you had a few extra hours of sleep. Because of course you were up last night until 2 am watching that new show on Netflix, for as we all know ‘one more episode’ is never really just one more episode.
Waiting for your train on the platform -which you only knew after checking the trusted 9292 app- surrounded by strangers you cling to your phone like it’s the life jacket that is keeping you afloat in a turbulent sea. Social anxiety is no joke, and social media is the perfect remedy in awkward social situations. At this point in your life you’ve realized that this tiny piece of metal, glass and plastic has become a crutch for you. You have become completely dependant on all these fantastic, amazing technological wonders that this magical box contains. We all have. The complete and utter sense of panic you get when you press the button and the screen remains blank proves this. The intense stress that arises when you click on search and the tiny little dinosaur appears on your screen. Just because it’s cute and it allows you to play a little game doesn’t mean everything is suddenly alright. No internet. The words themselves bring an image to mind of a world in complete chaos. Buildings on fire. Looting in the streets. The Purge made real. We all depend on internet. But is this necessarily a bad thing? Previous generations would have us believe that yes, this is a very bad thing. In the good old days they didn’t have smartphones, computers and wifi. We don’t need all that! This line of argumentation always reminds me of anti-vaxxers. In the good old days they didn’t have vaccinations, and they were fine! We don’t need all that! Yes, well, in the ‘good old days’ they also had a life expectancy of 35 years. Maybe vaccinations are a good thing. The same goes for all this modern technology. Yes, maybe we could live without it. We’re smart. We could invent other things. But why would we? All of human history before this very second has led us to this point. Maybe we’ll make mistakes, and maybe sometimes people will look back at the times before technology with longing, but that’s just the thing: it was before. The only way to live is to move forward, not backwards. Technology is the future. Enjoy this new age of digital media; its filled with wonders. Be aware of the world around you and what you yourself put out into the world. Our technology is great but human beings are still flawed. Maybe we depend on digital media too much. We’re only human after all.
At night before you go to bed you check your social media for the last time. Ten more followers. You fall asleep with a smile on your face. Hey, if it helps, it helps.
I wonder if there truly are people who advocate for doing away with current communications technologies outside of luddite and primitivist circles.
What you seem to describe, in my opinion, is how the lines between digital media as a tool and digital media as experience appear to be blurred in many people’s lives.