Lately I’ve been ignoring Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and pretty much the rest of the “cloudy with a chance of anything” world of technology. I’ve been hiking, listening to music and reading books.
Meanwhile, over in the Internet world, the “Do no evil” guys have gotten nabbed more than once with their fingers in our private cookie jars. The biggest “Like-me” guys have yet again claimed, this time through their lackey, that your private photos, well, aren’t really yours. And those “Linker-lubbers” realized no one was ever gonna’ actually write a testimonial, even for their best buddies, so they devised a simple click button and promoted the hell out of it. I know, I know, you’ve all been “endorsed” a million times lately. Me too.
The sad fact is that the world of social media is now a such a festering swamp of fakers, flim-flammers, criminals and idiots (and those are just the CEO’s!) that it makes talk radio look like a cultural Mecca.
Perhaps, if what we were doing with all this instant Internet deluge was in some way better than what we were sacrificing, it might be worth it. But, it’s pretty hard to see how the inanity and grossness of Twitter, the self-promotion of LinkedIn and the belly-button watching of Facebook could ever substitute for Leo Tolstoy’s novels, Verdi’s La Traviata or an early morning sunrise in a remote Utah canyon.
It’s encouraging to see that many more people are now questioning all this, asking things like:
- Might we be losing our gifts of reflection, distance and quiet?
- Do we know how to slow down anymore?
- Are we sacrificing sunsets for instant updates?
- Are we trading the fullness of a well-crafted 1,000 page novel for constant intrusive text messages?
- Are we missing our kids smiles and cries while we check email on our dumb phones?
Sure, the smug ones still yell “Technophobe!” and “Luddite!” But, concerns about Internet issues like safety, privacy, access, education, psychology, parenting, meditation (and on and on) aren’t anti-technology, they are simply life affirming reminders that if we don’t step back and take the time to ask where we’re going, we might end up someplace none of us wanted to go.
So, let’s get back to work. Let’s keep asking those questions, bringing up those issues and challenging those folks who constantly insist that the Internet Emperors are regally attired in the finest silk and gold, when in fact they’re just plain starkers.