I’m going to say it because nobody else seems to; I fucking love social media and the advancements in internet technology in the past 10 years. We all use these things but at the moment, it seems trendy to say that Facebook, Twitter etc are terrible things and everybody is dumbing down. They’re not, though. Kids of today who have mobile phones and use social networking are reading and writing more than they ever were. There are so many forms of communication and that isn’t ‘depressing’ that’s exciting! Face-to-face conversations are fantastic but I have had conversations with people online that have had so much depth and compassion that I refuse to believe that online communications are a bad thing.
There have been a few viral videos that express sadness at people ‘always staring at their phones’ and so on but what they never express, what they ought to express to give a fair picture of how it actually is, is what people are looking at on their phones. On my phone at the moment I have an app for learning languages, a Kindle app, a newspaper app, a podcast app which is full of podcasts about history, TED talks, science and so much more as well as the usual social media apps and a few games. All of those apps have improved my life. A lot of them have changed my way of thinking, have had inspirational articles on them and I have shared these things on social media so that my friends can feel as touched and inspired as I do. This isn’t a bad thing, this is brilliant!
If I don’t look at my phone on my commute to work, I read a book. If you leave me alone for ten minutes in the pub I’m going to look at my phone or read a book. I’m not the chatty type. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the ‘real world’ while I’m looking at these things. I feel like I’m living and loving it!
I’m a really shy person and incredibly awkward. This isn’t because I use the internet a lot. In fact, the internet has helped me so much with communicating and I have made fantastic friendships through it. Some have then gone offline and some remain online. I don’t consider my online friendships to be any less important or special to me than my offline friendships. I owe so much of who I am, of who I’m becoming and want to be to the internet. I have always preferred writing to talking and because of the internet I can express my thoughts without stuttering or worrying about if my accent is being understood.
We are one of the most privileged generations and we have access to any information that we like. We can communicate with people all around the world. We can share articles and experiences with more people than we ever could. The world is becoming a more connected place by the day. Don’t reminisce about playing on the street or how great life was when things were simpler. It was a simpler time, yes, but simple is not really a positive word, it’s not an inspiring one. A simple life isn’t one to aspire to. A full life is.
So, yes, go outside and live a little I guess but I don’t know anybody who isn’t doing that, really. Embrace technology and learn to love science. These things are not the enemy- they’re the future! If you look back at any huge technological advances, people always resisted. My favourite example is Galileo Galilei who was a revolutionary astronomer.
In 1614, Galileo was accused of heresy for his support of the Copernican theory that the sun was at the centre of the solar system. This was revolutionary at a time when most people believed the Earth was in this central position. In 1616, he was forbidden by the church from teaching or advocating these theories.
This is obviously an extreme example and the universe is far more vast and misunderstood than the internet but he was still a hated man in his time and now, his theories and practises are taken as fact even by the most extreme conspiracy theorists.
Then there have been rejections of Kindles (I was one of them, yes, unsurprising), iPods even smart phones. In the case of Kindles, the argument is that they don’t beat the ‘real thing’. It’s said that the sound quality of iPods is less impressive than that of a record player and smart phones have stopped real conversations happening. What I say is- one doesn’t replace the other. You can have an iPod and a record player at home, you can have a mix of physical and e-books, you can use your smartphone to make phonecalls. None of these things have been completely obliterated and nobody is telling you that you MUST switch from one to the other. It’s just more fearmongering and rejecting of technology. YES I prefer listening to records than listening to music on my phone but I like listening to music in public and really, a good song is a good song even if the sound quality isn’t 100%. I prefer the look, feel and smell of physical books but I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy reading a few books on my boyfriend’s tablet last year and usually, yeah, I’d rather have a chat on the phone but I sometimes don’t have the time, or enough to say to warrant a phonecall. Technology makes life easier and puts the things you love in small sizes at your fingertips. Why is this considered to be a bad thing?
Accept technology and embrace science! These things are always changing, always interesting and give you a great insight to how the future may be. Even if you don’t, you’re not making an impressive stance, you’re just limiting your own life and experiences.