It’s 2013 and instant communications has reached new levels with the likes of facebook, twitter, high speed Internet connectivity, cellular data networks, Skype and more. The “tech” industry appears to be moving at breakneck speeds to find even more innovative ways to bring us “the world,” “our world,” in less cumbersome if not more intrusive ways. Eyeglasses that allow you to read email or automatically pull up information on people in view using face-recognition technology. What is the next step? Is it embedded tech in the brain? Are people at some point destined to be connected to their small communal collective if not the entire world collective by means of an always-on invisible tether to the information cloud?


Have people become so interdependent on others for their own survival, or satisfaction? Have we shunned privacy to such a point in society that it’s looked upon as shameful to -not- be engaged with others seemingly full-time? Must we be constantly bombarded by social interaction that we barely have a private moment? Where then is the limit of privacy?

Through facebook one can see and read the latest news about their friends whether it’s important or not, whether you’re interested or not. Conversations have degraded into small sound bites; easy enough to digest but remaining hollow of nutritious content. Friends seem compelled to respond as if they are in the same place at the same time; vicariously living through others. They want to know what’s happening, so much so that it becomes an addiction at some point, but does it matter?

People have lost jobs, friends, family and spouses because of what appears on a web site. Yet the behavior continues unabated, and becomes even more pervasive. Now you can share videos. Your friends can now see you in all sorts of moments, both those you don’t mind having shared and those you didn’t even realize you were being captured in. Nearly every cell phone has a camera now both for still photos and video. Nearly everyone carries a cell phone. Nearly every moment of your life may be recorded somewhere by someone and used without your knowledge. Fathers end up discovering their daughters in porn videos; Mothers find photos of their son’s naked girlfriends accidentally sent to the wrong account. That bong you were huffing ends up as a photo on a friends page and the next thing you know you’ve lost your job or your college scholarships.

And those who aren’t hooked up with social media are being told “shame on you” for not being involved when it should be shame on -them- for not respecting privacy. Where does it end? What drives this never-ending need to know what everyone else is up to? Does everyone need to be so interconnected? Are people -that- lonely? What ills has this brought upon us?

Talking on a cell phone or texting while driving has lead to increased auto accidents, especially among teens. Hearing about the death of a spouse on facebook -before- an official is able to call. Bullying of targeted teens until they commit suicide and then the bullies celebrate it as a victory. How sick we must be.

“Time to walk the dog” posted by a friend, but does anyone really care? Does it really matter?

“So and so is a dangerous threat to society” reads another from a celebrity. Really? Isn’t that a political opinion motivated by an internalized hatred against someone who doesn’t necessarily think the same way? Well, thanks for that, I’ll know not to buy any more of your albums, movies or TV shows, and I think I’ll burn the rest. Leave the politicking to the politicians please.

“I’m headed to the coffee shop, meet up” and friends are supposed to simply drop everything to satisfy your desire for instant gratification? Perhaps they have a real job and can’t just drop everything to leave. Maybe they’re in the middle of something important. What happened to giving a person a call and asking what they’re up to before making demands like that?

Aren’t we all too busy to be bothered by this? Or is it a symptom of not enough people working; more people staying at home without jobs and needing to socialize. Or is it that we don’t need sleep anymore so we fill the time with catching up with others.

You live 2,000 miles away but I need to know what you are doing all the time. Really? We can’t go to dinner, we can’t go to a movie, we can’t share in a car show or trip to the dam, except by way of written sounds bytes and photos.

I would liken this behavior to calling a friend on the phone, saying one or two sentences and then hanging up. If the person had something to say, they’d call back. What a terribly inefficient use of a resource, or a persons time.

Perhaps there is something useful in social media but I’ve not found it yet. I’ve not found anything that creates a desire in me to be so utterly connected to others that I must share and be shared. And some will cry hypocrisy to me as they read this, after all I’m sharing the thoughts that leak from my brain.


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Copyright 2014, Asa Jay Laughton