These are the lenses through which we are expected to see the world now…
I went all the way until the beginning of 2017 without a smartphone or tablet. Shocking, I know, however did I function?
He said, sarcastically.
I even worked in my company’s online and mobile troubleshooting and support, while still communicating to others with a primitive flip phone. Because these devices are not hard to use and ergo not difficult to troubleshoot. We’ve dumbed down our tech to make it easier to use instead of educating people and challenging them to learn something new.
In fact, once I acquired my device (I refuse to call it a phone; the ability to make phone calls is merely one application among many) I was astonished as I was able to grasp more fully how easy these things have become to use. It’s almost as though companies want to make it as easy as possible to be enraptured by your little screen, the constant barrage of notifications, the ease with which you can spend money on things, some of which are admittedly fun, but by and large serve as one large pointless diversion.
I may be sounding especially jaded this morning, but this is due to the whiplash of me rebounding from the headache of diving into my latest experiment, the grand pool of social media. I’ve been spelunking on Facebook for some time now, but only when using it through a mobile device and not a PC have I seen how meticulously designed it is to suck you into an endless feed of algorithms that you yourself help the site program to keep you glued to the screen. Twitter is a mess. In the time it takes for me to write one carefully crafted tweet, my feed has exploded with dozens more tweets. It’s like being lost in a sea of tweety birds, where you are all competing to see who can chirp the loudest and get noticed for those oh so coveted likes. Not to mention the fact that this country’s next President can’t be bothered to complete a single thought of more than 140 characters… ugh. I still plan to post to social media for the sake of my writing and interacting with other authors, but beyond that it’s all an exhausting sea of madness to me.
The cynicism that is channeled into this post is my resentment at feeling my brain trying to rewrite itself in order to compensate for the sheer information overload one experiences when plugged into the human network through a mobile communication and information device. When I consciously decided to rip the cord back out, I felt better. No notifications, no news feed, no competing for likes and shares.
With the experiment over, with me firmly establishing where my boundaries lie, I plan to use my new device responsibly, taking advantage of its technology to enhance my life and to be an access to knowledge, not to distract from it. The damn thing is faster and more efficient than the now stolid, bulky seeming laptop I am writing this blog from, but it is still a tool, not for companies to use to take money out of my pocket or for certain interested parties to keep me glued to a screen clicking “like,” no, it is a tool for me to use to augment the world around me, not to be the centerpiece of it.