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Social Networking: The Opium of the Masses

iphone_mockupsIn today’s age, technology of all sorts is constantly at your finger tips. It’s only logical that communication is rapidly becoming easier and cooler by the day. Just think, no more then 100 years ago, most people communicated by writing a letter and sending it by horse courier and waiting sometimes months for a response, but now, you can hold five different conversations via text, while twittering about your lunch, while updating your Facebook status. There is no such thing as breaking news anymore. When a car accident happens, a rubbernecker can take a picture on his/her phone and upload it to the internet in a matter of seconds, before the police or news crews get there.

I bring this up because people today, for the most part, spend a large chunk of there day on Facebook and Twitter and checking what everyone is doing, and while in traffic this morning, I was listening to the Z Morning Zoo on Z100, while tweeting about being stuck in traffic of course, when they brought up the fact that John Mayer is doing a Tech Cleanse. What this means is he is not using Twitter or Facebook for a week, and he is not sending texts, and can only respond to texts by calling the person. He has also limited himself to checking his email on his computer, not his phone, and only once a day. To most people, this sounds worse than water boarding, or some absurd fish oil diet, but it is day three, and as far as Twitter and Facebook go he is sticking to it. I don’t know about you, but when I text someone, it’s usually because I either A. Can’t talk on the phone because I’m busy, or B. I just don’t really want to talk to you, thus making this cleanse even harder.

The conversation went on as they took some calls about the topic. Someone called in and talked about how they were obsessed with technology, and proceeded to explain how he was tethering his iPhone in his car to his laptop, while driving, so he could play World of Warcraft, WHILE DRIVING, and that he had another cell phone for GPS and email, and a third for calls and texts. This was a little overboard, and kind of an extreme example, but valid nonetheless. As the conversation deepened, Elvis Duran and the rest of the Zoo agreed that it was peoples new found constant need to be involved, up to date and connected to others. Carolina Bermudez then exclaimed that when her phone doesn’t ring for a period of time, she is convinced it’s because she has no service. John Bell explained that in order to be truly independent, one has to be comfortable with being alone and not having constant updates of what someone is eating for lunch, because no one cares about that.

I personally don’t think I would be able to survive a tech cleanse, but for more serious cases like the World of Warcraft guy, I guess I would advise it because you’re actually putting people’s lives at risk. I think that the future is going to be less and less personal in all aspects from person to person interactions, to business, even to relationships (sexting). We all, myself included, need to take a step back and make sure that physical relationships are in tact as well as virtual ones as we move into 2010.

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  • Comment by Barry posted March 29, 2011 at 17:10

    I have been thinking over the past week of writing a blog entitled – Social Networking, the opium of the masses. Naturally, I decided to do search before writing this and found that yours was published more than a year before I thought of it. I think the problem has gotten worse over the last year. Perhaps we should start a new tag on Twitter #opiumofthemasses. Hmm, probably already there…