The Technologic Silence
The Cable/Internet went out at about 8:05 PM on October 29th, 2012 in Clinton Hills. It was as if someone flipped the switch on the volume of the world. All of a sudden, there was no news anchor telling the world that Hurricane Sandy has landed and is wrecking havoc on the East coast. There were no more sound coming through the wall from your neighbor’s streaming Netflix, 8tracks, or Spotify.
But the most noticeable silence was from the sounds that can’t be heard. The silence of not seeing any Facebook notifications or tweets from that guy or girl you once met at that random party, cracking a joke or a clever line about whatever is on their mind. No more 140-characters of stupidity from random celebrities in Hollywood who thinks everyone is overreacting to the hurricane. No more instagram pictures, facebook pictures of a mac screenshot of that one hilarious tumblr post from that person who no one knows in real life, but only on the internet.
The deafening silence of technology.
All of a sudden, instead of casting your thought out into your social web and checking back every 30 seconds to see if anyone has ‘liked’ or ‘retweeted’ or ‘reblogged’ it, you actually have to socialize personally again. To text that thought not to a thousand people – 90% of whom you haven’t seen in years – but to a single or a few people who you genuinely think might appreciate your cleverness.
Most of the people who are reading this should be in my age group. The ones who remember the age of the beepers and the chunky phones, the days when internet was a luxury and not a god-given right and taken for granted. The days when we actually had to put conscious effect into socialization. When we actually knew who were at our parties, because we had to invite everybody one at a time. When we didn’t have to check our phones twenty times an hour, because texting was used for more meaningful things other than ‘lol’, ‘yeah’, and ‘lmao’.
It’s true what people say, that you only really miss something when it’s gone.
Instead of listening to that song that a friend of a friend of a friend just posted, you can actually listen to that playlist you made a year and half ago for that girl you had a crush on (but of course, you screwed that up). And remember the good and the bad from your relationships with your own head, and not the pictures painted by the meaningless facebook messages you exchanged.
Instead of ‘catching up’ on that TV show you missed Thursday, you can actually watch that documentary on Helsinki that you downloaded a month ago but never got around to watch, because honestly, who can watch a documentary when you have the urge to check Facebook every two minutes?
You actually have time to sit down and read a magazine. Or even better, a book. Pay attention to the little things again, like how the leaves swirl outside your window when it’s windy outside.
When’s the last time you paid attention to leaves dancing in the wind? Or the symphony of wind whistling through trees?
When’s the last time you dreamed a dream for yourself, because it’s something that you’ve always wanted to do for yourself, and not something that you’ve seen one of your friends do? When’s the last time you stopped imitating and yearning for social approval with every picture, every text and every status update, but instead did something just for yourself? Just for fun?
It’s true that we’re social animals, and social approval is unfortunately, paramount to our emotional health, but the advance of technology has changed how we socialize. And I really miss those days when people actually had to put thought behind their words, because those words couldn’t be easily deleted like a tumblr post or a facebook status. Because we couldn’t hide behind an e-persona, designed to show who we want everyone to think we are, but not who we really are.
Oh look, the internet’s back on. I wonder if anyone’s liked my Facebook status when I was gone.