July 4, 2014

If The Internet went Quiet

Social media's primary motivation is recognition. We're searching for understanding in the form of a larger network, because what's the point in churning out updates daily if not to attract and captivate an audience, huh? Sharing our work and thoughts, connecting with people, opening up our metaphorical internet doors into our homes..these are valid reasons to check twitter. But more often, we share to share. Liking becomes less about what we like and more about the cultural recognition it gives us. Meaning is often based on cultural context, so it becomes difficult to play the game of what would our ancestors have done. Yet, what would they've seen in social media, in the internet in general? The age that we live in allows for greater communication than ever before. We're able to affect change, to widen our reach, and in powerful ways, influence our cities and the world. Networking makes connection comfortable and easy. Yet, in constantly connecting, we're losing our ability to communicate without the web to clamor behind us.

The function of social media gives us a way to say, "look what I'm doing," regardless of whether we're doing it or not. My friend and I were laughing about instagrams..from location scouting, prop styling, editing, etc. I'm not saying that these are bad things, just that our realities are skewed. It's not just about sharing our breakfast anymore..now our breakfast has to be beautiful. Which is fine. Art becoming greater in the scheme of our daily lives isn't something I oppose, but why do we do it? Is this all one huge game of follow the leader? I don't have answers, just questions. What would it look like to go off social media? What would it look like to communicate solely via letters? What's the function of blogs these days? Do we need this network? What's the point of it all? It fascinates me in a sobering way that we even have to ask ourselves these questions.

Society has evolved to a point where the thought of not having an online presence and not sharing our work puts us in league with the dinosaurs. I understand the appeal, perhaps too well. But it saddens me because I've been plugged into this changing, growing, controlling network. I wake up to the phone, check twitter. I take photo. I can talk to people without talking to them. Everything is an instagram opportunity. I should tweet that and this. 

Do you know what's sad? I've lost the ability to sit in silence. It's difficult for me to be still. I'm rediscovering how to read without interruption. I'm trying to simplify my thinking into one line, not many different avenues all begging for my attention at once. I removed notifications from my phone awhile ago, but I sit and suddenly I'm checking my phone simply to check it. Is it that I, or we, don't remember how to even exist without constantly reviewing the never-ending stream of forever updating information? As I write this, I have about 10 tabs open.

We're spending more time cultivating our online personas than our character and personality in real life. Years ago, this wasn't a part of my normal routine. Take 2004. Instagram was nonexistent and iPhones were a thing of the future. Facebook had come out only recently and blogging was starting to gain traction. Smart phones existed, but compared to our phones today, we'd have called them illiterate. Yes, we had the internet, the next thing was coming, but everything was relatively quiet. I romanticize the past, but there's a marked difference in how we operate as a people with the increase of technology and the ease of networking. Please don't think I'm proclaiming a cry of abandonment of social media. I've said before, I enjoy instagram. But I don't want to mindlessly ingest and consume without question. What does the role of social media play in our lives and how will it continue to evolve as we as a people and society grow and change?

The thought of Google Glass terrifies me, and the promise of always being connected sounds like a nightmare. Contrary to the trends of 2014, I feel most fulfilled when I'm less connected. The more I am in the "real" world, the more inspired, well-rounded, and content I am. The less connected I am on social media, the more connected I am in real life. I think it's dangerous when we enter into social networking as a natural occurrence of daily life, and don't recognize the difference between what's shared and what exists. The argument could be made that social media is part of ordinary routines, but that's the gist of this post. We're at a place when sharing is synonymous with existing, and to go without sharing is a kiss of death, or really a refusal to cry.

What would happen if the internet went quiet and we all just lived our lives? This is something I wonder about when my phone and laptop are gone.


  1. We seems like becoming the zombies of current era.

    I always try to sit still and leave my phone in my handbags and complain my friends around if they keeps on their phone!

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  2. Nicely done. Even me couldn't resist from checking my twitter, fb, instagram. I always wonder what happen if there's no internet bcoz seems like I forgot what happen back then when internet merely exist.

  3. We visited the Biltmore mansion in North Carolina earlier this year and, walking through the place, I realized we really have evolved to a society that can't just sit and do nothing. Imagine 100 years ago--people didn't have a Twitter account to check. I think it's all about adapting. It would only take a while for you to get used to having no internet, no electronics, but eventually you'd adapt and probably be better for it. I know I'm one of the worst at sitting still and enjoying life!

  4. Well said! Liking posts on facebook has become a necessity because the thought of you need to like their posts in order to get likes in return. I used to have this feeling that if my posts got less than 10 likes, people don't like me which I realized now is crazy! As I grew older, I've become wiser to realize that I'd rather use the time checking or posting on facebook, instagram to do something else that is more beneficial.

  5. huh the tech nowadays sometimes turns human inactive,,, 24/7 with their phone/tablet... anti social ..im trying my best not to hooked to much but yeah...... if we are like this now and then what will happen in the next 20 years...may be ppl dont even have to meet lagi.. using face time seja..


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