I realized something today, well I realized it quite some time ago but today it hit home in a way that I never would have thought. I called my grandfather to wish him a Happy 87th Birthday and we had a nice long conversation. Later this evening I went over to my mother’ s house and asked her if she had spoken to daddy(we all call him daddy) for his birthday. “No! Daddy’s birthday was on the 1st, today is Denise’s(my aunt) birthday”, replies my bewildered mother. My mum’s birthday happens to be on the 7th. It just so happens that my grandfather and my mother do not have Facebook accounts, how inconvenient. My aunt Denise does have a Facebook account but she doesn’t publish her birthday, once again how inconvenient.
I love social media but the same thing I love about it is exactly the same thing I hate about it. You can scroll through your feed and feel like you are in communication with people even though technically you aren’t. I’ve had many a phone call where the conversation starts with “long time no speak” and we proceed to tell each other about all the things that are happening in our lives only to be met with a sense of deja vu. Of course! You know this already, you’ve already seen it all on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat feeds.
It’s like there’s this disconnected sense of connection that is prevalent in our society. This is coming from a 43 year old male, who knows different, has experienced different. Who remembers a time when people couldn’t take selfies or posts pictures of every meal or live streams. I don’t feel old but to a 2017 teenager I’m almost ancient. Seriously, a conversation I was having a couple of months ago involved discussing the fact that a teenager did not possess the wherewithal to have made a phone call to get information that he needed. We laughed about it at the the time but in all seriousness actually talking on the phone is a lost art. Texting, textese or texting language is the order of the day. This teenager so used to texting, didn’t figure out that he could just call a phone number and actually speak to someone.
Listen, I’m not complaining. Social technology is a great thing and I can personally attest to it’s usefulness, especially being an immigrant living in New York. I can maintain relationships with family and friends overseas. We can organize groups without the need for close proximity. I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives at the moment. I guess my real question at the moment is, where are we headed?