Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So, Facebook Blew Up

So, Facebook blew up.

More than ever, I often stop to contemplate a reoccurring thought in my big, educated, modern brain of mine. It's a thought, I know for a fact, is a relatively new thought in any brain these days.

I spend way too much time on social media.

Phones, tablets, watches, glasses, laptops--they're all glued to some part of our body, luring us with the simple "touch" to connection with the outside world. To blatantly steal from Seth McFarlane in the film Ted, "You are never alone when you're with Christ," has honest meaning if you are a Christian, despite the hilarity of it used at that cinematic moment. But what if you aren't Christian? What if you're atheist? That phrase is as useless to you as nipples on men. But now, the phrase has become practical, obviously less religious, and hauntingly true, with a small change in words. "You are never alone when you're with your phone."

It's a difficult phenomena to realize. Until you've walked into a party for the blind and deaf, naked, you don't know what it feels like to be without your phone. Incomplete. Cut off. Lost--most likely metaphorically and physically, seeing as your phone is probably your sole device to direct you where to go. And it's complete shit that technology has made us feel this way. It has striped humans of what makes them superior. Okay, so they didn't take our opposable thumbs and back-handing ability, because I'm sure Mr. Darwin would say otherwise, but it did take away our confidence, spontaneity, communication skills, and our imagination.

Imagine yourself in an elevator. You step in from the lobby with another human. This person might be someone you recognize, know even, maybe have never seen before, but the both of you are now on a 2 minute journey to floor 27. Light elevator music is playing, probably an orchestrated version of "What is Love," by Haddaway. And despite this, you don't smile and start bobbing your heads to the right. More often than not, you, and probably this other person, grab your phones. If you're looking at your phone, it makes you look busy and un-talkable-to. And this has become an INSTINCT. Rather than hold a conversation for 120 seconds with a stranger, even about the weather or that incredible Hail Mary pass by the Huskers on Saturday (amen!), you look to your phone to divert this potentially effortful, yet normal, human interaction. You no longer hold the confidence to bring up any subject, make someone's day, or tell a probably inappropriate joke. And this has gone beyond sad. It has become the level of someone staring at a plain wall, unblinking, and blank-faced wearing a Yankees shirt.

Regardless, it's becoming increasingly obvious that technology, more importantly, social media, has become this giant cloud of crap that has attached itself to you like a leash on a child. (Although children on leashes is perfectly acceptable).

That being said, it's fair that technology can be amazing, and helpful, and forward thinking. It's around us everyday, in science, in hospitals, or in space. It can connect loved ones from around the world, even for a moment, and let you know about breaking news. And that is the kind of technology that needs to keep moving. Keep that crap going and awe-ing and changing the world in the best ways possible.

Basically, it's come down to a blanket of shame that settles when I consider how much time I spend on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, Google Plus, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, maybe I don't avidly use all of those, but someone does. And it's too much. Why do I feel bad about this? I'm wasting time in my life that could otherwise be spent doing something productive. And it's not just a few minutes a day. I would be PROUD to say that I peruse Facebook for 10 minutes every day. It's hours, collectively. I could be reading. I could be jogging (silent j of course). I could be playing with my adorable dog that no one has heard about. I could be shot gunning beers with my friends. Hours and hours of my life have been willingly given away for social media time. And it's time that that shit stops, and I can claim that shit back.

I'm sure a brain doctor or psychologist has a rationale about what it means to have the need to see what the rest of your world is doing at every waking moment, but this is my best interpretation at being a psychiatrist.

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo.

I'm doing my best to lessen my use of social media for the time being. Let the irony set in of me pushing to have this blog read via Facebook, Twitter, and Blogspot. But, it shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes of your time to read it. Then after that, get the F$^& off social media.

Thanks for soundin' down.


catechism ( /ˈkætəkɪzəm/Ancient Greekκατηχισμός from kata = "down" + echein = "to sound", literally "to sound down" (into the ears), is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used inChristian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present.[1] Catechisms are doctrinal manuals often in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorized, a format that has been used in non-religious or secular contexts as well