I remember in middle school my 8th grade social studies teacher asked us to write a small paper about how the creation of internet had positively changed our life. Believe it or not this was a hard paper to write. At its face value its hard to see why, but let me explain. In the context of the paper she wasn’t asking us how the internet affected us but how its creation affected us. Perhaps this is just me but I can not remember ever having a computer in my house where there was no internet access and that’s where the issue was. For me the internet was not some grand innovation that changed the world, it just was. The same goes for computers, or video game systems, or colored TV; These things has just always been around, like rocks, or dolphins, or bad jokes.Because of the innate existence of this technology comes a lot of my dislike of social media.
You know what. Lets just ignore everything previously written, what I am about to say is more important. The issue I have with social media is pretty simple. It should supplement human interaction but instead it frequently supplants human interaction. Things like Facebook are great tools for getting into contact with someone you have not talked to in years, or casually setting something up in a way that doesn’t require you individually contact every part of a group. But for the majority of people I know who use them they don’t do that. What they do is cause people to obsess so much with socializing with other people over the internet that they just ignore people in who they actually can physically be in contact with. Its like texting, the ability to responsibly use it has been way out paced by the rate of its introduction. Just like every time I see someone texting while driving I want to smash their thumbs between two slabs of granite; similarly when I see someone push all of their contact with their friends into social media it pushes me away.
In my freshman year of college I had a friend who for his privacy ill call Mike Rosenburger (that’s actually his name, but who cares). One night at around 3 AM he knocks on my door and asks to come in, without thinking I opened the door. In comes Mike (and another one of my friends named David, we will get to him later)blackout drunk, just reeking of what ever cheap Pennsylvania whisky and beer he had been drinking that night. before I had a chance to react he stumbles over the middle of my room where there is a giant pile of dirty clothing. Mike jumps onto this pile of clothes and starts rolling around. The whole time he is yelling “IMA DOG”
Now Remember, it was 3 AM at this point and I am tired so the only reaction that I managed to muster up was sitting there dumbfounded with my mouth hanging slack like some sort of idiot. After about 30 seconds of this I walked over to Mike and tried to stand him up. Mike being the slippery snake he was saw me coming and rolled under my bed. He probably thought himself clever for getting away from me that way, but in reality it was a poor choice. The large pile of clothes he had been rolling in was dirty, but under my bed was where I kept the stuff that was so dirty that I didn’t even want to touch it.
Add 5 Months of filth and clutter and this is an accurate photo
By this point I am positive mike had to of contracted the mumps , leprosy, flesh-eating bacteria, and at least 2-3 other diseases from all the filth he had been in contact with. David and I both were just at a loss at this point as to how to remove him from the depths of Tartarus he had lost himself in . The issue resolved itself with great ease however when Mike bumped his head on the spiky mesh that the mattress lies on and just kind of …flopped over on his side. David and I took the opportunity to stand him up and David told me he would take Mike back to his room.
So no big deal, they both leave and I go back to writing a paper or what ever I was doing. That is until a few minutes later when Mike knocked on my door again asking to come in because he left his phone or watch in my room. I went over to the door and let him in (reluctantly before you judge me too harshly). This was a pretty big mistake, Mike immediately jumped back into the pile of clothes, rolled around a few times and then stood up. My first reaction to this was probably some form of profanity, my second reaction was to try to grab him and throw him out. Mike even in his state of extreme drunk-off-his-assness was more agile than me, which is sad. He jumped over my bed to my TV stand. Sitting next to the TV was a case of Ramen noodle cups, you know the kind with the giant noodle ball in the bottom that you pour boiling water on. In a movement that was surprising in both its precision and celerity Mike plunged his hand through the top of the cup and ripped out the noodles.
“Dramatic Reenactment” *
So there Mike was, like some sort of Mayan priest who held the still beating heart of the most recent sacrifice to the gods. He had an idea in that moment in his glazed over eyes you could see it, some sort of malevolent spark of inspiration muddling its way through the gallons of Natty Ice. He turned to the wall and hurled what could only be described as the worlds worst fast food at the concrete walls that imprisoned us.
There is more to this story but i think by now you may be starting to get the point. If we had just been a bunch of guys who spent all of our time on Facebook or twitter instead of having something memorable happen it would have been more like this
Mike: Lol im so Drunk
And that’s it. I won’t pretend I don’t enjoy occasionally looking at stupid pictures on imgur or will laugh at meme someone shows me, but if they were completely destroyed I would not be much more than slightly irritated. My lack of interest in these things is probably linked to me not really engaging in them. In a post by Zhao (which referenced my blog in a revision, hopefully this doesn’t create some sort of outrageous infinite feedback loop between us) He talks about being a lurker, i don’t think i would count myself in even though i don’t interact just because my interest level is not high enough. Things like Youtube really are in a gray area for me in as far as social media goes. Yes its a huge source of information sharing, and a lot of it is positive, but good go when i think of toxic interactions between people on the internet; Youtube Comments sections are like number one in being vile. Kudos to Elisey for bringing up Youtube on his/her blog.
I am a lot more generous however in my appreciation of things like Skype or Mumble or Ventrillo (or any Voip) because they are much more direct forms of communication, and usually are supplemental to some form of real interaction like playing a video game or working together on a project. As for Facebook, twitter, Reddit and their ilk I just have no desire to make them part of my life.