Hello, my name is Shelly and I am a netaholic. (Hi Shelly.) This week, I am focusing on a nationwide epidemic as well as a personal addiction: the Internet. People say the things that aggravate you the most tend to be your own fatal flaws. Case in point; I cannot stand to see two people sit opposite one another and stare at their phones and yet, when SO berates me for the very same crime, I retaliate with “I’m just checking my notifications, GAWD”. (Actually, I was Googling the return date of Grey’s Anatomy but sssshhhh.)
In an age where the earth spins quicker than ink can dry, we have become fixated with our news feeds and obtaining information as soon as is humanly possible. Even as I write this, I punctuate my paragraphs with frequent check-ups of Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp. I have purposely refused the Wi-Fi code to resist the lure of inane memes and holiday pictures of a virtual stranger. The bookmark has resided on page 76 of We Need to Talk About Kevin for the past six months due to my drastically reduced attention span. We need to talk about obsession.
Why are people trying so hard to simulate real-life experiences via their personal screens? I can understand the ability to record television shows from your mobile but do we really need an app for popping bubble wrap? The Nintendo Wii remains my most vexatious pet peeve; why would I pretend to play tennis in my sitting-room when I could be outdoors ACTUALLY PLAYING TENNIS?
From the tech savvy Apple enthusiast to the father who is struggling to grapple with his touch screen, we are all on a slippery slope to a world of hollow communication and faux friendships. The fears of technology superceding human interaction are echoed in the futuristic Oscar-winning film Her, wherein a man develops feelings for a computer operating system. (Even as an autobot, Scarlett Johansson is more alluring than us mere mortals.) Is this far-fetched science fiction or a glimpse at eventuality? Are we going to abandon Tinder and force ourselves on Siri, mistaking automated responses for affection?
There should be a general rule for Facebook and other such social platforms; first of all, delete anybody you wouldn’t say hello to on the street. Send a text to say happy birthday instead of an online photo collage; it shows you care without broadcasting it to the nation. Above all else, do not lament the life you are not leading; people post their highlights, not their blooper reel. We don’t create a status for the test we failed or the friendships that did not last. The internet is a fantastical existence and we should not aspire to dwell within its twisted realms.
Your mother was right. Get off that effin’ phone!