The metaphorical degradation of communication and relationships via social media

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Several things in the last few weeks have made me realize that the entire concept in the movie Wall-e is not that far from us. We no longer make eye contact, at first I noticed it when I went back to college ten years after my first attempt. Back in the olden days of 1996, people talked to each other, waved, made initial contact with strangers. When I went back in 2005 I noticed everyone was walking with their heads down texting or talking on their cell phones. I didn’t get a fancy cellphone until the next year when I was 26, which is like cellphone ancient right? Still, it baffled me no one wanted to talk. I used to joke that we were going to de-evolve into creatures with necks that are crooked down because people who’s necks are straight would never have the opportunity to breed because they aren’t hooking up via text. Its actually not so funny now.

Then I got a myspace. I was addicted, I admit it. I was married to someone who was gone 40 weeks a year and drunk the other 12 with 3 kids in the middle of bumfuck Filer, Idaho. I needed myspace. It served a purpose. Then I got a life and shut it down.

For reasons I no longer remember I got a facebook; maybe cause all the cool kids were doing it, maybe to communicate with something about school. Honestly, I don’t remember. But anyway, it again became my way to communicate with people and share things I found interesting and pictures and blah blah blah all the magical things that facebook does. Over the last couple years I have shut it off for a day to weeks at a time because I get so sick of texting and only seeing people online. I even said “el oh el” out loud once. Serious. How lame is that? I consider myself a political advocate, but I, like most of my generation and those to come after, vent on social sites and feel better while never doing the work, never getting arrested or peppersprayed in the face for sitting on my ass somewhere other than in front of my magical telescreen facebook. We vent and feel like we did something when we didn’t really. Just created a statement that can never really be erased. But that is ok, because unless you are really important and a political powerhouse such as Lindsey Lohan or Alec Baldwin, no one gives a shit what you say.

I digress.

Anyway, every time I turned my facebook off, I eventually turned it back on to communicate with people because its apparently too hard to use a phone or a cell phone or our feet to say hi to someone. Everyone says Facebook me. Tweet me. G+me. wordpress me. message me. stardoll me. WTF ever one uses. Even if you live next door. Its beyond frustrating. I turned my facebook off again a week and a half ago; it took my 97 friends (of which 23 were family) a week for 6 of them to notice. Or atleast notice and try and call to make sure I hadn’t committed suicide other than technological. That was beyond confirmation that no one communicates anymore.

Atleast not in real life.

People create intimate pseudo-relationships with people online. We have things called “emotional affairs” because someone can get caught up in the magical anonymity of chat rooms and Facebook and reestablishing relationships that ended years ago (usually for good reason) with people that we only present the best parts of ourselves to online, because it validates us, makes us feel good when the things in our lives become mundane, banal or even simply difficult. Online is a fantasy. It can become an addiction.

It may be the first thing I truly had a difficult time walking away from so I am taking baby steps. I’m keeping my twitter. I’m keeping my WordPress. I’m keeping my email because I need it for work. But Facebook? Myspace? any of this other bullshit you guys keep wanting me to try, no way. Facebook shall never be twilighted. I am done. Eventually I will have to go back to get my pics off it. I know this. But I will do it in the middle of the night when no one can talk to me or attempt to suck me back into the opium den. As for real life? I’m here. I have a phone. Two in fact. I’m even listed these days. I am sending out cards for the holidays. No copy and pasted greetings online from me. You wanna actually talk to me? Pick up a phone and do something besides text.

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About Jani

Jani grew up a gypsy anachronism, spending her early life taming her wanderlust. She clawed her way into the real world eventually obtaining two highly unpractical degrees, two children, six figure student loans and a sarcastic wit that is matched by few. She now lives in the Walterverse where she received her MSW at a ridiculously expensive University. Her future plans are to pay for the useless extra letters after her name as a super heroine. In the event that plan doesn't "work" out, she plans to return to her roots as vagabond gypsy busking in one way or another, after her children move out. HuZzah.

9 responses »

  1. Hahah I hadn’t ever heard that before? I’m from Austin and I’ve always been told that “Portlandia” is just as “indie” as Austin…but nothing about it being like the 90s! This is good news and I’ll have to do some 90s Facebook searchin. What color of Wall-E will you have picking up your scheiße?? Lol

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