The world has become a bleak place, devoid of human interaction. A hovercraft zooms past as friends gather in the city’s labyrinth of steel and concrete. They silently pull their phones out and begin texting each other.
“Hi badb1tch01, hw r u?”
“Im gud, M186. Sry im late. Supposed to be grounded. #thuglife”
The power of speech has been lost at the hand of social media.
Scary? Sure. Sci-fi? Well no, this future isn’t so futuristic, it’s more or less already happening today.
Well, except for the hovercrafts. That needs to happen already.
We are currently in a world where social media is not just a way of life but basically defines our day-to-day existence. We make ourselves publicly accessible and, in turn, are judged by what we say and do. Under the social media spotlight, people don’t fear retribution, rather they relish over-sharing how much alcohol they consumed last night, how many people they made out with or how many penguins they stole from the zoo with the hashtag YOLO slapped on.
Facebook has already reached the one billion mark. That’s one billion people sharing their lives, whether you want to see their cat in silly costumes or not, or hourly photos because their babies have sneezed or farted or whatever it is that babies do. When did we become like this? I may be starting to show my age a little but I’m sure that I was unconscious through this whole transition.
It all seemed to really kick off with Myspace. Do you remember Myspace? You were only cool if you were on it. We had music that assaulted our ears upon viewing a profile and glittery decorations spammed across the page with the kind of artistic skills that would make Vincent van Gogh weep (obviously with jealousy).
I miss the days of remaining mysterious and aloof while leading a double life. You could go out and perform multitudes of immoral activities without a friend – thinking it will be a great idea to take a photo and tag you on Facebook so your mum, dad, brother, sister, cat, dog, and that creepy old man down the road can view and judge you accordingly. Now, the whole world is your digital playground of debauchery and shenanigans. You can be in and out of people’s profiles, leaving hate (or boredom) filled vitriolic comments, Mission Impossible style.
I know what you’re thinking: “don’t you use Facebook and Twitter as well?” And let’s face it, I do. The only action I’ve gotten in recent years is being poked on Facebook, so I’m not one who should pass up an opportunity. I also understand that Facebook and Twitter has its uses. Like where your building is burning down and you’re sending an SOS to your cat’s Facebook page, or you’re in the trunk of a car, needing to be rescued from a gun-toting driver and you can tweet all about it as it happens. But, for goodness sakes everyone, learn to hold back a bit on personal information. Once it’s out there, it’s out there for good.
I’m putting a kibosh on it all. Today is the day I stand up and say I am no longer a slave to social media. I will no longer take photos of my meals and put it up for all to see. I will no longer post statuses making a mockery of the English language and I will no longer tag myself at places so my arch-nemesis (Esteban) knows of my exact location at any given time.
I hate you social media, for all that you have provided for me on my days of boredom. Now, excuse me while I post this on Facebook and Twitter.
This column was originally published in mX (May 16, 2013).