It’s Time to Get Real in Real Time

Are we living in an age of inauthenticity?

We are in a time where a click of a button seemingly erases a person from our lives.  Does it successfully also undo our experiences with them? Erase our memories of them? Reverse their impact in our lives? Does deleting a friend off of facebook mean the same thing in real life as it does in the computer world? Do you think the click of your button is going to impact me?  Isn’t it strange that we’ve bought into the notion that it might?

Facebook took the forethought out of approval, values and expression….now the moment we see the opportunity to like something, even before our brains necessarily compute the image, we can, with just the click of a button.  We like a picture and feign support when the truth of the matter is, we’re more than likely indifferent to the foamy picture on Jill’s cappuccino.  We can frivolously like a picture for it’s snazzy colors before we actually read the wording, understand the principle behind it, or see the pedophile who posted it.  But the message we send out is support and validation? Did we mean to?  It takes the thought and intention out of connection or relation.  It reduces feeling and expression to “like” – we can like it without actually liking it. 

Haven’t we then in someway become automatic and externally managed? Haven’t we lost our individuality on some level because of the limits and restraints of the programs we use – I mean come on, there are only so many emoticons, only so many lines a person will read on a quick home page perusal – we become conditioned to live, think, respond, act and feel within this box; our computer (or your IPAD if you prefer, since my fiancé refuses to allow me to call his a computer)….We’ve become puppets, but who’s the puppeteer, Mark Zuckerberg? Apple? If I don’t repost this status does that mean I really don’t support the cause for cancer? Come on.

Does 10 likes only mean mediocre support?  Does 25 likes make me popular?  Does over 50 make up for not being part of the cool crowd back in junior high? We’ve started living our lives on a public forum less the incessant paparazzi and lavish homes in L.A.  Doesn’t it seem on some level that in general, technology has conditioned us to behave in ways we didn’t intentionally choose?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m exaggerating the issue to make a point.  But then again there is a nagging part of me that wonders if I’ve lost part of myself in this way.  I do agree that our electronic means is certainly knowledge sharing, life sharing and life affirming, I mean what better way to run out Joseph Kony or massively share new quinoa baking ideas?  I can’t forget that I met my fiancé on facebook, but fortunately he suggested an in person meet up just a few messages into our online introduction. 

I nostalgically think back on the days of spending more time looking at a person’s face then looking at a screen.  I remember the times when I was more prone to face, confront and work through problems, when now a days it seems easier to write off, run from or vent online.  Somehow we’ve reduced everything to bare bones; the easiest and quickest fix; the most convenient.  Remember when facebook was just out, a novelty that hadn’t really penetrated our culture or invaded our lives?  The occasional escape is turning into a new reality. Our secret voyeuristic tendencies are becoming acceptable everyday activities.  I care too much about what other people are up to and how these other people might be perceiving me than what I’m actually up to and how I’m perceiving myself.  Don’t we untag pictures of ourselves that we hate?   Don’t we pose with an arm on our hip because it makes our arms look smaller.  Don’t we know those that take a thousand pictures to post one good one.  But we’ll graciously accept these false accolades, and continue being whoever we think we’re being and whoever everyone thinks we’re being – without necessarily being ourselves.  I can fake being whoever I want to be.  You can fake being whoever you want to be and I’ll naively believe it!  And we can all live our merry little lives in this online bubble.

It’s ironic because the accessibility of these online communications has brought me spatially closer to people I’ve been distant from for years.  Reconnected me to high school friends, past employers, junior high crushes that I would probably never have otherwise crossed paths with again.  Keeps my past loves out of heart, but in sight.  Absurdly keeps all of my life’s experiences at my fingertips; but seeing everything on screen makes me an observer, not the player anymore.  I can calculate, analyze, judge and change my mind a thousand times before I click a button or type a status. Which means I can practice to perfection until I choose to raise the curtains, it’s like rehearsing real life in real time before actually living.  Rehearsal for real life? It’s actually a really strange concept and phenomenon if you stop and really think about it. But somehow human beings have managed to create and do the impossible, manipulate living in real time.

I do need and want technology. My sister lives in Texas with my beautiful nieces and nephew.  I have family in India,Texas and throughout the States, my cousins live in south side….I want facebook and facetime to connect with them in ways not reliant on Canada Post timelines, back logs and drives down the Anthony Henday.  I do want instant updates and notices. 

 I just don’t want these to inadvertently create contrived interactions, inauthentic love, or superficial support; I don’t want to create or respond from an inauthentic me; and I’m afraid that the conveniences of “artificial” communication unintentionally and perhaps over time undermines my own authenticity. 

I just think it’s time to look deeper at where I’m at, what I’m investing my time in and the cost (or gains) of these investments.

 Time is precious not a commodity.

Why do people unplug? Maybe they are too busy living. Anyway, I’m going to wrap this up, it’s probably been a couple of hours since I last lol’d somebody’s e-card status.

3 Responses

  1. Betty, I came across your blog tonight and I am moved by your words…. It’s like an epihany…our life transitions evolving from our twenties to thirties….great read!

  2. Hey beautiful, another kudos to you for this great article. I can relate on so many levels on what you’re saying about our fascination and attachment to technology. I am proud to say that I do not own a cell phone, but not proud to admit that I am addicted to my IPAD. I’ve come to love my IPAD with each passing day, but I must stop jumping for it whenever I hear a message come in. I love it most for it’s FaceTime feature to connect with my niece and nephew in Ottawa, when Air Canada or Greyhound to Ottawa is just not feasible.

    Great article…keep up the great work buddy! I am looking forward to your next one :)

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