I live in a world that has seen the unprecedented evolution of communication within a half a generation.
Stop to consider this fact.
If you had told someone twenty years ago that a majority of their conversations in the future would take place in front of a computer, they probably would have written you off as a nutcase. Yet here we are. Look anywhere; look around you- at the cell phone by the bed, shit look at the screen in front of you. Facebook, MySpace, mobile phones, ringtones, profile songs, instant messages, text messages. Were so saturated in the shit we sometimes forget how prevalent this technology really is. Understand that for the first time in history, human beings have the ability to communicate anywhere, anytime and in several different ways with almost no restrictions. But how have we chosen to use this ability? Where has this unprecedented evolution gotten us?
In a world with 6.6 billion people we find the most effective way to transfer information is by not communicating at all. At least not verbally. In this increasingly technological world, we communicate with our fingertips. We omit the subtle complexities of a smile, or the raising of ones eyebrow or the silent but effective implications of body language and cut straight to the chase. Why just talk to someone when you can dedicate a song to them, change your mood, and put up a clever away message all in one fell swoop?
Whatever happened to good old pen and paper? Whatever happened to good old face to face? Do you even remember what you did before you had a cell phone or a Facebook page? Calculate how much time you spend each day in front of a computer and how much time you spend in front of a person and you might be surprised.
By no means am I condemning the evolution of communication. I’m as guilty as the next person. I enjoy talking to my friends overseas or my old roommate in Texas and without technology it might not be possible. My point is to highlight the absurdity of it all. Organizing our top friends? So sorry Jim, but I like 12 people more than you. Buying virtual drinks for what, a virtual buzz? Some websites even offer the option to buy gifts… a 50×50 pixel picture that costs a dollar. But hurry kids, this is limited to only a million and once they’re gone they’re gone. You’re telling me there are actually a million people out there spending money on this shit? Blowing dollar bills on a picture that if you printed it out wouldn’t even fit on the face of a quarter? I bought you this cute dog, fuck me please!
Look how fucking ridiculous we’ve become.
And where are we headed? Are we on the edge of something great? Are we holding a first class ticket into an unimaginable realm of communication and interaction? Could the next few years open the door to a realm of social relations that we never could have imagined? Or are we sliding quickly around the toilet bowl of social retardation ready to flush ourselves into an emotionally impotent and completely incommunicable world?
I don’t know the answer.
Ask yourself this: Fifty years from now are you still going to be checking MySpace? Will you still be organizing friends, posting comments and putting up away messages before you take your dentures out? Will you be buried with your cell phone so those left behind can text you when they are feeling sentimental?
Maybe this is the natural progression of communication. Maybe we have to hike our way through this ultimately pathetic middle stage to reach the next level some sort of golden age.
Or maybe its time to check ourselves and realize what we’ve become.