I’m a hypocrite, I admit it. I refuse to put Kindle on the same shelf as real books, I tell myself I will ensure that my kids can hold a paintbrush and scribble with crayons before they can swipe fingers at IPads and play games on portable devices, I roll my eyes at couples who write sappy messages on Facebook and turn what should be private and sweet into what at best, bores the rest of the public (you would be surprised at how little it matters to the rest of the world that you ate dinner with your honey at the little bistro down the lane and then he bought you a long-stemmed rose).
I will reserve my thoughts on Facebook for later, but that brings me right to the dirt. I say I hate all this technology that has taken over our lives, that keeps us connected to people far away at the cost of ignoring those in our geographical proximity, but my Blackberry has become something like a third hand, or at least an addendum to one of my hands. I upload photographs on Facebook, and try as I might to appear nonchalant, I admit that I notice all the likes and comments that collect. I even sneak status updates, half-concealed attempts at appearing cool and happening and you know, living the life, travelling and seeing weird stuff around the world, so lucky. Too often I choose Hulu over my book, my Pandora is always crooning music, and I would have died of loneliness without Skype.
After so long, I slept last night without my phone next to my head. No alarm clock, no midnight half-asleep browsing the net, and worse of all, no way to send you whiny messages of love and affection. And it was kind of cool. Just feeling that I wasn’t so dependent on a smartphone for all my waking and half-waking hours.
I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong, for all the technology – well, most of it. Okay, a lot of it. It is just that I hate that Facebook is all about how many friends you have, and how many people ‘like’ your new profile picture, I hate that sometimes a status change is how you find out that one of your really good friends is engaged, that people now take pictures of what they are doing just so they can put it online and others can be dutifully envious, that you’re friends on Facebook before you’re actually friends in real life; I hate that emails and thank you cards are made redundant by tagging people in your status and telling them you love them for the benefit of the entire web. I mean, I’m all about looking at positives and I realize that there are piles of benefits to counter the negatives, but I just wish, I just really, really wish that we were more wary of all this technology.
I just want us to be conscious of every time we crush spontaneity, bypass privacy, and place our happiness and content and self-worth on public view and acclaim. Every time we take out our laptop when we are around other people, or text friends when we should be talking to friends, every time we check our emails or browse the web when we could be looking out of the window.
It is too easy to forget, which is why I have to remind myself over and over. Remind myself what matters, who matters. Sometimes it is good to shut off, disconnect and hang up.