My relationship with the online world makes me look needy and 100% dependent…just thinking about makes me sad. In attempt to figure out why this makes me sad, I thought about the world we live in today. Today’s world (at least my world) is driven by immediacy. I get my answers just as soon as I develop and ask my questions. And the crazy part is, it is not just convenient, it is expected. I want to know the score to the basketball game. Literally all I have to do is pull out my smart phone and type the first three letters of the team’s name and boom, I have the score. Even at my job, we are required to answer any and all emails within 24 hours of receiving them—this includes weekends and holidays (unless of course you put an automated response on that you are away, letting anyone and everyone know that you are in fact on your vacation in Cancun–privacy? who needs that). No longer are the days of running out the door to my neighbor’s house and coming home by sundown. There is rarely a time when I am unplugged.
My relationship with the Internet started when I was, maybe, seven. My parents were fairly forward in technology, owning the first Mac that was ever made. I spent my time on AIM chatting with my friends and, of course, the online robots who would respond to me late at night when I stayed up. I also made a Hotmail account. As time evolved, so did my primary uses of the online world. We were never gamers growing up as my parents did not want us spending hours in front of the television. Little did they know, we’d be spending hours in front of the computer doing other things! There was a shift to a technologically based way of learning in high school—we were each given email addresses, our homework was posted to “edline.net,” and most of our classes were projected on smart boards. I joined Facebook in 2006—I like to think I was one of the earlier subscribers. I have two older siblings and they were both on it, so I joined probably a year or two before my generation hopped on and settled at a lofty six friends for that time period (my siblings and cousins). Before Facebook, MySpace was our preferred social media outlet. Even at this point, at 12 years old, I remember being so infatuated and almost addicted in a sense to this online world. I would come home from school and spend hours on end in front of the computer.
My habits at 12 have scarcely changed, except that the “addiction” has heightened. It is sad to say it, but so much of my life is online. I am constantly in communication with people and in this sense, I never feel alone. This clip by Louis CK on the Conan Show really extenuates the fact that our generation is absolutely terrified of being alone.
When I feel awkward, I grab my phone. When I don’t want to make eye contact with someone walking towards me, I grab my phone. When I’m bored, I grab my phone. The biggest crutch in my life has slowly become indispensible. It is my method of communication and connection. I now FaceTime with my puppy almost every single day—don’t really know what I would do if I couldn’t do that. So I guess to revisit my sadness around my relationship with the online world, I would say that this dependency is in fact what scares me. So much of my life is conducted online—every time I think about deactivating my Facebook to become more present to what is “off the screen,” I think twice and the fear of missing out or not knowing kicks in. It wasn’t until I calculated the amount of time I have spent on just Facebook that the reality of the takeover really hit…
Calculate your wasted time here!
“Louis C.K. Hates Cell Phones.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2014.
Wilson, Chris. “How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook?” Time. Time, 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 12 Sept. 2014.