Awareness

This has been a thought that has been on my mind for the last two weeks.  I was in a meeting with some people discussing an upcoming production, just to watch.  I was a guest in the room so I was keeping to myself and observing the people around me.  That was when I saw it: a bug.  It looked like a hybrid between an earwig and a tiny spider.  It was gross.  It was crawling across the table in front of me.  I was still listening to a donor boast about their recent donation to the arts, but my mind was fixed on the creature ahead of me.  The woman who was sitting where the creature was didn’t even notice it.  It began to crawl on her thermos.  Still, nothing.  She didn’t notice.  I became fascinated.  Wasn’t she aware that there was a creepy hybrid creature crawling on her thermos?  Instead of saying anything, I just sat there and wondered how long it would take her to notice the creature.  The creature has proceeded to crawl on her FINGER, up the arm and now it was on her shoulder.  I suppose I should have said something by now but I figured, if she hadn’t noticed the bug by now, it was her own fault.  The creature crawled onto the chair, through the carpet and found a hole in the wall to escape through.  See?  No harm done.

After that little experiment, I began to observe around me the awareness of other people.  The digital age has made it much worse.  Since our cellphones have come to the point of controlling our cars and the alarm systems in our homes, why would a person look up from their phone?  Why bother to refrain from texting while we are driving?  Why refrain from answering a phone call on a date?  I’m guilty of the above situations I’ve mentioned (except for the date scenario).  I admit it.  But now I’m aware I do it.

Hey, I can see my house on Google Maps!

Then another event happened that reminded me of the awareness topic.  A friend of mine just recently had a baby, and there were no photos yet of the new little one.  Eager friends started posting on her wall for pictures of the new baby.  I sort of giggled at the situation because I knew eventually there would be pictures and since childbirth isn’t necessarily the most relaxing experience, she would be busy and I would see this bundle of joy eventually.  I sarcastically and jokingly stated on a wall post, “It isn’t like she’s busy with a newborn or anything.”  To which one of the mom’s replied, “ok…I realize that they are busy with a newborn…but this is 2011 and everyone has a camera on their phone…take a pic and then when you have a sec…I don’t know grabbn a cup of coffee or something…”  I didn’t quote the entire passage just because it includes the baby’s name, etc.  ANYWAY, this made me laugh because I really believe someone needs to invent the sarcasm font so that there isn’t misunderstandings.  But then I returned to my serious self and began to think about 2011 and the idea of technology.  Is it at our service, or are we really its slave?

Since when do we have to upload pictures and update our hundreds of friends on our daily lives?  Some people are becoming just as bad as spammers with the constant bugging for updates on life, posting their statuses every hour, etc.  Spammers are easier to deal with because I can just delete the email.  🙂  And since when did our lives revolve around Facebook?  Goodness, you can even update your MySpace with Facebook now.  You can update your Facebook from your car!  Since when did Facebook become the dictator of our personal lives?  When did the Internet become so invasive?  I’m talking to you Google Maps, Spokeo, BeenVerified.com and WebMii…just to name a few.  I supposed back in the day before computers, one could visit the library or the office of public records and try to find the same information.  But the internet has made it easier.

I know what you’re going to say, “But Google Maps makes it so much easier to get to places now!” or “I can stay in touch with people from elementary school!”

Here’s what I think…I’ll pick on Facebook for a second.  Facebook makes us lazy when it comes to communication.  It’s an ironic statement.  But think about it.  I don’t have to call my best friend in Oklahoma to find out what’s new in her life.  I can go to Facebook, and she can go to my Facebook.  But she’s awesome and I enjoy talking to her so I call her anyway.  But what about my more casual friends?  How many times have we skipped a long story by saying, “Just check my Facebook.”?  I have about 1001 friends.  I’m a little disgusted at myself.  I know about half of them thanks to my line of work and my various activities in my personal life.  But why that many friends?  And you know someone is completely done with you when they DELETE you from their friends list, oh my!  And Facebook pretty much gives permission to crazy moms to update the world with TMI worthy postings about their babies…fondly made fun of on my favorite website, STFU, Parents.

If I remember correctly, Skynet became self-aware on April 19th, 2011.

Our phones are smarter than us.  We use them for directions, for information, for pictures, etc.  What did we do before we had cellphones?  I know it’s crazy to even think back to before we had cellphones or even back to the “trendy” Nokia phones with their gray and black pixelated screen with the coolest game on the planet…Snake.  Cellphones have come a long way since I was an undergrad in college.  I’m 25 so it wasn’t even that long ago!  And with cameras on cellphones, goodness gracious!  My Newsfeed is filled with photos of meals, drunken nights in the clubs, people tanning at the beach, or self-portraits in the bathroom.

Technology is out of control, in my most humble opinion.

I’m presenting a challenge to myself, and I invite you to join me if you’re up for it.  I’ll start in baby steps.  Update your status once a day.  Post one link a day…maybe more if the material is either hilarious or absurdly profound.  Only take pictures of incredibly awesome and rare moments (so no pictures of your lunch, or of you drunk in the club).

They don’t call it a challenge for nothing.

But anyway, back to my title…Awareness.  Because of these cool new gadgets, it makes us even more unaware of the world around us and our surroundings.  And these gadgets are combining forces which makes them even more powerful.  And we keep feeding the machine.  We would rather risk getting into a car accident by answering a text immediately.  Something is wrong.

Now I shall depart so I can post this link on Facebook.  Ah…the cycle continues.

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