Thursday, June 4, 2009

Too Much Technology

A few weeks ago on the local midday news, the anchorman read a breaking story directly from a Twitter page. The big "this just in!" newsflash? Emergency vehicles had been dispatched in the vicinity of the White House. Which would be news. If I lived in the vicinity of the White House. Seattle? Not so close. It would also be news if we knew why emergency vehicles were being dispatched. Like "President Obama had an aneurysm" or "A little old lady on a White House Tour tripped and broke her hip." One of these: National news. The other: Not so much. But with Twitter at our fingertips, why do we need to discriminate? All news is exciting breaking news! Who cares if it has relevance or even accuracy? Be the first to break that story, even if it isn't a story, because if it is a story, then you'll be the first to break it! And that's what matters in the media. Speed! Popularity! Journalistic integrity can take a hike. (Note: Hiking is a slow way of getting around.)

Something I read recently said the interwebz move at the speed of stupidity, which is pretty damn fast. (I would credit whoever said it, cuz I thought it was both hella funny and brilliant, but I can't remember where I read it, so if you know, please comment!)

What I'm about to say is going to sound curmudgeonly and old fashioned, but I'm a card carrying member of the Internet Generation, so if I can't bitch about it, who can? My complaint is this: We are taking it too far. There is such a thing as too much technology. And yeah, we're there.

Twitter, Text, IM, LinkedIn, Live Journal, Facebook, Myspace, Blogs (yeah, I'm bitching about blogs on a blog, you got a problem with that?), it's all TOO MUCH.

Are we really so much more informed? More connected? Are our lives richer? Or is this the social networking version of a computer solitaire addiction?

I'm not one of those Technology-is-the-Antichrist people. I don't think the convenience provided by the internet is the first sign of the decline of our culture or anything. But I do think we're going through that awkward learning phase when people are so excited about "We can!" that they never stop to think "Should we?" Internet puberty. That's what this is.

I'm ready for us to grow up now.

I must admit I kinda like having a blog (in part because I get to post rants like this one whenever I feel like it), but I feel ridiculously pressured by the need to have a "presence" on Twitter & Facebook & a dozen writing yahoo loops. If you want to know what's going on with me, it's right here. Ta-da. Do you really need more? Do you really need to know how I feel right this instant in 140 characters or less? It feels totally egotistical to live your life as if there is an audience cheering for your every tweet. I'm sure I will give in someday. I already have a Facebook page (which I almost never update), but, for the moment, I will focus all my narcissistic tendencies right here. Where there is no character limit to my moans and groans.


Anonymous said...

In "the good ol' days", people sat on their front porch waving to their neighbor as they strolled by after supper (no I'm not that old). Now we build privacy fences to have some - well - privacy from those neighbors (I'm all for privacy). But we will talk to anyone and everyone on-line, waving from our webcam to our new best friend in Greenland.

What I'm saying is we don't get out, go places, and interact with folks. We watch TV instead of going to the movies (except you - I know you go to the movies). We eat at the drive-thru or better yet, take our Big Mac home to eat it in the privacy of our house. What's next - cyber sex? We're already there aren't we? If we want to have a baby, we can run the data through our database and the sperm donor (if he checks out) can Fedex his donation and watch the tike grow up from the nanny cam.

Kaye Chambers said...

Technology was supposed to make life easier, but it's gotten a touch out of hand.

How many hours does everyone spend just keeping track of their techie counterparts?

*grins* I would challenge everyone to leave their cell phone at home and computers off just one day, but I'm afraid of what I'd find when I turned it all back on.

Great blog, Vivi!

Vivi Andrews said...

Ah, the front porch. Of course now it would probably be someone sitting on front porch, laptop on knees, tweeting "Hi, neighbor!" as a neighbor drives past (no doubt texting from the driver's seat). Woe is us, the tragic corruption of that bygone front-porchy goodness.