It has been a long time since the Nokia 3310 was released in the year 2000.
Iconic, compact and amazingly durable to even ward off animal attacks (according to an unconfirmed internet report) this phone went on to be one of the most popular phones ever made. It had all the features for the year 2000: you could call people, text them and later engage in an addictive game of snakes.
So how have we changed in the 14 years that have followed ? From a phone which did everything a phone should have, we are holding in our possession uber devices which can take food photos to fly drones (yes, believe me). If you ask me, with them we have become a horde of glassy eyed, attention lacking, hyper stimulated, hyper addicted and hyper connected robots with only a tiny original personalities attached to us like an old Post-it note in a strong wind.
I always believed that the information binge I indulge in everyday is good for me. I start with the usual Quora, followed by articles on Digg, then move on to the Verge and everything on my Flipboard. I spend my lunch with DailyMail and Yahoo Singapore and then end my day with Slashfilm and Filmschoolrejects.
It all seemed normal to me, after all I was learning so much from the uprising in Ukraine to Dinobots on the new Transformers trailer.
Everything was perfect in my hyper-connected world till I first felt the first signs of withdrawal.
I was in Dubai for the CNY holidays, and unfortunately during the first 2 days I did not have Internet access due to unforeseen circumstance. The first signs of withdrawal were more subtle than a usual caffeine withdrawal. My thoughts were a mess no matter how much coffee I drank and I could not get rid of the brain fog.
Then I started sleeping up to 12 hours a day compared to my usual 7 hours in Singapore, which is usually interrupted by my phone buzzing in the middle of the night from someone up voting my Quora post.
Soon I was running from shop to shop in the malls like a drug addict with the words “Do you have Wifi ?”. Before I could be pushed to more desperation, I finally found Wifi at a coffee shop and binge consumed all that information I was missing in last 2 days. Although everything felt normal again, I realised how hyper stimulated I was by my phone in my so called “normal” life.
Of Selfies and Hashtags
I think social media is creating a world of lies where everyone seems kind and thoughtful and they like whichever horrible pictures you post as long as you like theirs. If it was restricted to a computer, we would have gotten less frequent and less annoying updates, where people would actually think before posting something.
Thanks to the smartphone and the camera attached with it, there is really no filter between the brain and those fingers on the touch screen.
As Facebook is the epitome of self-love and promotion, it is going unchecked as we need to scratch other’s backs to get ours scratched. I am unsure about what I would do with the information about my “friend” checking into a cinema to watch a movie unless he could tell me how was it.
Then there are those who describe every emotional state they are in and the ones who are always having meals with amazing people. If this was true, it is almost like there are Mandelas, Gandhis and Mary Poppins roaming around us. Also for “Grinch who stole the Christmas” personalities like me, the collective awesomeness of the lives of the few hundreds of people on my Facebook does not make me any happier.
Selfies annoy me the most unless they are of very pretty girls. Rest of the people, if you have to use a minimum of 5 Instagram filters to look human in a picture, do not post and add hashtags like #selfiefever: the only fever you are giving is to the viewer.
Instagram has crept into a hand of a very dangerous crowd, the gymrats, who were never the Einsteins of the world. Not only they spend taking pictures of their bottoms in the gym (does anybody go to gym to work out anymore?), nowadays they are as philosophical as Socrates with messages about hard work and sacrifice. The day people start taking life advices from these supplement fuelled, vascular and narcissistic individuals, we can ring the town bell signifying the end of our civilisation.
So what is the solution?Anonymous comments and the Dislike Button.
Yes I said it, we need anonymous comments and dislike buttons on Facebook to let people know how we feel, all under the cover of anonymity.
Anytime a person posts a mundane picture with a quote stolen from the Internet attached to it to make it more artistic, we want to ask “Seriously, is that the most original thing you can do?”
With anonymous feedback, our society all juiced up on narcissism will be set back on track.
As per myself if concerned, I would like to spend more time reading those flattened organic matters bundled together with coherent ideas in them called books. I do not need to know so much in the world, specially about which Kardashian sister is getting married again with an engagement ring which can feed an entire country in sub-Saharan Africa for a century.