At the time of writing it is a few days from 12 July, a day when traditionally Orangemen in Northern Ireland march to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne. But I’m still trying to work out why my friends recommend I join a Loyal Orange Lodge when I send them a joke on email or Facebook?
Those of your who have recently taken your life in your hands by trying to organise a babysitter by text message will know that our attention spans are getting shorter, our spelling more contrived and our ability to understand the world in anything more than 50 characters ever diminishing. However the final straw for me was when a university lecturer friend of mine told me recently that he had to inform his marketing students that when they submitted their essays it wasn’t OK to use “2” instead of “to” etc.
Surely the madness has to stop?
We have got used to people in meetings checking emails on their iPhones and texts on their Nokias. Over dinner loved ones drift out of conversation to check their three inch squared screens. The subliminal message? ANYTHING in the world which may be happening on the three inch squared screen right now is more interesting than this conversation :–(
A wonderful world of embarrassing Facebook updates is emerging, with people posting messages and pictures that in years to come they will unquestionably regret.
Let me tell you every part of my life – “just woke up, had breakfast, stuck in traffic OMG what is that driver doing”
Kid bore – “my little Johnny scored the winning goal for the school team today, reminds me of his Dad when I was his age, er, I mean he was his age”
Embarrassingly slushy psychology – “my best friends are like a fairytale … they were there from once upon a time … and will be there until happily ever after” huh?
Sympathy baiter – “could really use some good news now, but thankful that I have such good friends”
Regret and attempted recall but too late – “hates Jennifer (tagged) who will never do that to me again”
Farmville and Mafia Wars advocate – “Andrew needs another 100,000 points to kill a family on the Upper East Side”
The “in” comment – “Long runs the fox so watch your back, you know who you are”
Serial status updater – “single” is too needy, “it’s complicated” is too sleazy and “married” is too smug
The nosey stalker – me!
Twice now I’ve had the experience of reading on a CV that a job applicant’s hobbies include “American history, reading and going to the gym” and been faced with the challenge of believing what I read on LinkedIn “I enjoy American history, reading and going to the gym”, or what I watch on Facebook “I love slamming tequila on a Saturday night”!
The Duke of Wellington famously told one of his mistresses who tried to blackmail him “publish and be damned”. Nearly 200 years later, legions of people are doing exactly that, but unlike the Duke’s mistress there is no potential financial gain to be enjoyed. In the UK the National ID Card was vociferously resisted yet Facebook is doing more to compromise personal privacy than ID cards ever could, with the ultimate irony that it’s not government, but people themselves, driving this.
Perhaps I’m just getting to the age where I despair that people who are younger than me didn’t do things the same way I did when I was their age but something nags at me – we are publishing in haste and some day we will repent at our leisure. I can’t be the only one who fears that in our rush for immediacy we are losing our ability to make good decisions, to absorb and share information, and to enjoy the rich essence of human relationships?