Awhatup Avatars? Welcome to the twenty-ninth ego-entity of HACK. If you’ve made it this far, I remind you of the immortal words of the still mortal immortal Paul Godmore…
It’s hard to argue with that logic. Yet I will do just that. This is for all of you out there that hate on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, dating sights and anything else about the good ol’ Internet.
Let me start by saying that I agree, the Internet is a trap. There are a lot of negative side effects and weird socio-psychological issues we’ve never had to face before.
“The Internet has taken away our privacy/free-will/etc.”
If you’ve made it this far, you might remember when I explained why privacy has gone the way of the Dodo and you might as well accept it. It’s like when people complained about telegraphs, telephones and television. Sure, all of these things had their dark sides. The robber barons could send messages quicker, telemarketers could intrude on your life and TV is like taking black paint to your third eye. Yet I’m sure you’ll also agree that each of those things has brought amazing benefits to humankind. Faster communication with a wider range, famous phone pranks, classic TV shows like The Wire or Quantum Leap or Mr. Show, and so on. We’ve learned to deal with the bad sides of technology because the good sides are getting us somewhere. The next fucking level.
Privacy is bunk and you might as well learn to adapt to our new transparent reality. We can’t really have global peace and understanding unless all our dark secrets are exposed and expunged and humanity births a new apotheosis. If we can do it in a virtual reality we can do it in this virtual world.
“People who spend too much time on Facebook/Twitter/etc. are lame and have no real life. There must be something wrong with them. It’s kind of sad.”
What’s sad is how narrow and limited your worldview must be. My friend Douglas Palermo once said, “Facebook traps you in your own ego. Twitter traps you in other people’s egos.” Far be it for me to dispute my fellow Crew Elder, but really, what’s the difference? I’m not about to debate Facebook v. Twitter. I admit I love the part of my ego that is Facebook. But I also like Facebook because the friends I’ve chosen are people that interest me and that share interesting things with me. I’m actually less of a fan of the general status update unless it has some kind of cool spin on it. I like Twitter because I get a glimpse into the psyche of people I don’t know. Ironically, my actual cronies on Twitter bore the fuck out of me with their constant posts about sports. But on Facebook I get to read articles and see pictures and videos that I might have otherwise never known existed. In short, it’s called learning.
I’ll even admit that I probably spend too much time on Facebook and online in general. But that’s a personal habit that needs to be worked on, not a reason to dismiss the whole thing as contributing to the destruction of humanity.
By the way, all those people who use social match sites like eHarmony, match.com, etc… There’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing. If anything, it widens the scope and is a hell of a lot easier than physically meeting one person at a time.
One thing that does piss me off though is that the Internet has contributed to the destruction of proper use of grammar.
“I only want to keep in touch with people that matter in my life right now. “
My roommate is a great guy. While I sit at home brooding on this blog every week, he’s out actually doing real things, with real people. He has a few primary social circles and regularly sees old friends from high school. Some of them were my friends at one time, and even though I live with him I haven’t seen or talked to them in years.
I’m pretty sure he thinks Facebook is lame and kind of a waste of time. He might say it insulates me and prevents me from going out and having real human interactions.
Fair enough. Nevertheless, I found something out a long time ago. Real human interactions are overrated. Sure, nothing beats face to face to contact, physical touch or shared moments together. Yet a lot of times hanging out is lame and/or boring.
The point is, I’d rather be at home connecting in some way with people I actually find interesting (and vice versa) than a bunch of people who don’t care if I’m there or not. Now, I’m no hermit (I’m recovering.) I do go out. I see friends. I just don’t feel a constant need to socialize. I’m comfortable with solitude and feel more creatively available to receive God Knowledge from the universe when I’m not inundated with social obligations.
Unless you’re a true social butterfly then chances are you don’t meet too many new people when you go out. You probably go out or hang out with the same people on a regular basis. Occasionally someone new will come into your life or you’ll be exposed to someone uniquely different than who you’re used to being around. Your sphere of potential experience actually becomes rather limited.
If you’re really passionate about something you may go out and seek others with similar interests. And what’s the most efficient way of doing that? THE INTERNET. I’m certainly not going to find any Dr. Dog fans among the people I interact with on a daily basis. They have shitty musical tastes and can’t open their minds enough to appreciate how good Dr. Dog is. Without the Internet it would take me a while to find Dr. Dog fans and talk about the band with them. Because of the Internet I can find any number or forums with fans discussing the music and lyrics. I’d have thousands of perspectives available to me. I might even hook up with some fans who live nearby and I never knew about it and we could all go see a concert together.
This is just one example. Now magnify out until you can truly understand the IMMENSE nexus of connections occurring every second on the internet. For the first time in this recorded history, human communication has become instant and global. I’m sorry, but that trumps living in a village, town or city where your talents and interests just don’t fit the norm.
In a lot of ways, the Internet has increased the potential for real world human interactions to take place. It has also increased the chances that like-minded people will be able to come together and share ideas quicker, leading to faster growth of ideas and concepts, which speeds up our evolution. Look how long it took us to get rid of slavery. Martyrs for the cause had to suffer and die over and over again until people finally got the point. Now, if we see an injustice happening we can record it right then and there, upload it to the world and expose the oppression. This increases the potential of a proper timely response and a nip-it-in-the-bud attitude to human atrocity.
The fact is that most of us have to work our assess off just to stay afloat and most unfortunately have little time to spend with all the people we care about. That’s why we limit our circles to “people who matter in my life right now.” Yet with things like Facebook and Twitter and I can stay connected to people who do matter to me but for whatever reason I haven’t been able to see.
“So much of the Internet contains lies, misinformation, disinformation or other utter garbage.”
Yeah, well, so is much of reality. Your consciousness is your filter. Me, I trust my filter to interpret information appropriately in any context whatsoever. It’s a case of taking the bad with the good. You still can’t beat how fulfilling instant access to information is.
Actually, one of the Internet’s best features is the ability to get an answer right when you need it…now. As Noel Rogers once pointed out, there’s simply no excuse for remaining ignorant on any subject when you can literally learn about it in the time it takes to say “I don’t know anything about that.”
And you know what, let these people spew their garbage. I’d be a hypocrite to say otherwise, I suppose, since that’s what I’m doing every week. And some people might say, “Why do you feel the need to share so much of yourself to everyone? Do you think people really care?” I don’t give a shit whether they care or not. I’m just using the medium for its potential, not for the actuality of the response. I know people are like me and trapped in their own egos and probably don’t give a shit. So, fuck those people.
We all have that choice to follow something or forget it. So if you don’t like someone, or what they write or do or whatever, you block them, defriend them, delete their comments from your posts, etc. There are many ways to ignore someone on the internet. There is only one way to ignore someone face to face. In some ways it’s a lot easier to avoid or get rid of people on the Internet than it is in reality. Just ask the ex-girlfriend who keeps stalking me with pictures of her five cats.
“Is there a point to all this?”
Yes. The past is prelude. Technology is our playground and we have a toddler attitude toward it. We’re learning to mature with technology and that in turn will help us mature as a species. Once our brains know how to do all this stuff externally then we can work on doing it internally by either integrating technology at a nano-scale or eliminating the need for it altogether. Individual human consciousnesses linked to the Gaian server. This is the in-between stage.
In the far soon future
As the Internet wanes
We’ll be uploading experiences
And rebooting brains
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