Sunday, March 6, 2016

See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me

Lately I've noticed a larger movement forming for people to stop looking at their phones during any spare moment.  There are snotty memes about nobody caring what you had for dinner so quit posting the pictures.  Other folks pleading to just stop and experience whatever it is you feel compelled to photograph or film. And share. Today I was eating lunch looking at my phone and overhead a conversation about how irritating it has become that every single person might be on their phone on the subway or in a bar or restaurant.  I was super late to this phone game but I do see the potential addictive behavior after only a year.  You feel a nervous urge to check updates and for what?  Little hearts on your instagram pics or thumbs up on a Facebook post?  That seems so silly and almost sad to me at times.
But it's so much more than that and I have to believe that some portion of this is positive evolution with value. At the very least, why this is happening began to make sense to me.  Certainly the younger kids but even someone of my age grew up communicating through media.  Television, film, music and photography have always been our medium.  We read about our beloved musicians in music magazines and poured over our album covers for insight into our favorite bands.  We were glued to the TV set to see our top shows but were bummed when we had to miss magic moments simply due to timing.  We combed through cookbooks to look for food ideas and to get inspiration. Clipping of the recipes or writing down the steps and ingredients on little index cards was cute for a minute but that was not going to be the best way for long.  We received important breaking information via the newspaper and the six o'clock news.  If you missed it at 6pm, then you'd need to wait until 11pm to get your update or drill your partner or friends for details.
Images aided our dreary lives.  Images sold promise.  So to me, it is a very natural progression for us to streamline all this data and put it on the fast track. Now that we have such an open line we're free to share all of this scoop with whomever we choose. And in turn broaden our net.   Speaking to one person at a time takes time.  No one has extra time.  Time is valuable.  You take that time, why not speak to hundreds?  Or at least 20.
Many of us have physically moved away from friends and family but refuse to live without those cherished VIPs in our lives.  With these new channels there is no need to break that alliance, even when you are home sick in bed.
And we stopped touching each other.  People barely hug anymore, real hugs. We have so little human contact in a real physical way.  This might serve to make up for that as well.  Monkey's groom each other in society.  Touching is big.  It serves a purpose. We lost that comradery. Now if a stranger touches me I want to punch their lights out.  But yet I have revealed close personal information to virtual strangers online and felt great about it.

Ultimately, I'd love to remain a touching, feeling monkey with a computer.

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