Technology has changed the landscape of our world, to be sure. The far reaches of the world are brought ever closer while we become more distant from those standing right next to us.

Remember as a kid we all wish we had force fields? Or maybe that was just me.

I just realized that we have them now.  In the 80’s they started as Walk-mans …That’s right. Sony invented the first force field. People put their Bel Biv Devoe cassette in their bright yellow walkman and threw those headphones on and zhoooomp! Instant people repellent. A force-field against people, if you will.

This has evolved quite a bit. Later the Discman. And finally…the smart phone.

Think about it. What do you want to do if you’re in a crowd of people and you don’t want to be bothered. One of two things–put your phone to your ear and nod a bit..throw in a a few ‘uh-huh’s’ and you’re set. No one will interrupt you because..well…it’s rude to interrupt someone on the phone now isn’t it (forget the whole rudeness factor of talking on your phone in public and expecting everyone around you to be quiet for your call–we’ll talk about that later).

And way number two is quite a bit less subtle. It’s the head down, both hands on the phone. As though that level of Candy Crush you’re trying to beat is more important than anything around you. In order for this to be fully effective, it’s best to glance up at the person trying to enter your field with feigned disinterest and go right back to heads down fiddling with your phone. If they still approach after that, you’ll have to employ the secondary defenses, hand up, with the ‘wait a second’ finger and put the phone to your ear.  Then hold the phone down and cup the mouth piece, “I have to take this…” and then right back to the call.

If they still come through, get the pepper spray or trying to stop being so friggin’ self-absorbed and recognize that the person might actually have something important to say to you.

Hahaha….no, I’m just kidding. Don’t talk to them. What are you, kidding me?

Most people are assholes in real life.

Not really, but it was the segue I needed to be able to rant about the whole ‘in real life’ thing.

I can remember growing up (*no story started that way will ever  make you sound young and hip). But I remember growing up and watching a movie or TV show and thinking “I wonder what they’re like in real life?” I mean…I don’t know…but I bet KITT was a pretty cool car in real life even though he had to be a bit of a worry wart on screen. To be fair, Michael Knight was ALWAYS thinking with is little knightrider, so KITT had his hands full.

But nowadays (Again an ‘old guy segue’)…the phrase in real life is used for everyone.

I’ve got a friend who is kind of an asshole on Facebook, but in real life, he’s a wonderful man who would do anything for his family.

Does it bother anyone else that we’ve come to the point where no one thinks twice about the fact that they have an online persona and a real life persona?  It’s just creepy. The real problem comes, as I’m sure it did for celebrities, when people cannot tell the difference.  Online many people are assholes. I’m firmly convinced it’s because we don’t have to see the expressions of the people on the other end. Yes, I’m including myself in that. I’ve been a dick online before and I’m sure I will again. Because, let’s face it, people say some really stupid shit online. And they need to be called out on it (we all do). But how we call people out changes if we’re hiding behind a keyboard.

Example: A friend posts the following.
I think the President is the next coming of the f**king whale killing seal clubbers and Jesus should just smite that arsehole right now.

Now granted, I toned this down from the kind of bullshit I normally see online. Point is, there are two responses to this.

Online (and stupidity breeds stupidity on a comment thread, remember that):
OMFG are you seriously that stupid?!?! EVERY President sucks and if you think this one is any different then it’s clear that your mom and your dad are brother and sister and how does that actually work if they get divorced. I bet there so proud of you, you f****ing retard!!!

But if you and your friend were hanging out and he spouted this bullshit, the incredulous look on your face would be enough to get him thinking that maybe that wasn’t the best conversation starter. And then you’d follow it up with.

Dude, that’s not f***ing cool man. 

A backhanded smack on the bicep accentuates the point. And then someone would pick up the next round of scones and you could both move on to the truly important issues of the day (and yes I do think the waitress was hitting on you).

Point is…Online is…well, it’s a myth. Isn’t it? And if you buy in to it you’re really just fueling the problem. It’s fake. It’s not real. The people on your friends list are not your friends just because they’re on a list on a server somewhere in China with a big thumbs up next to your name.

No, dumbass, they’re your friends because they like hanging out with you (or like to see you post stupid shit online, like blogs or something).  But social media is supposed to enhance your friendship in real life. Not replace it.

See. See what happens? You put a soapbox anywhere near me and I’ll find something to spout about. Now seriously get your ass outside. All this shit will still be here online, but that good stuff….you know the stuff in real life…that’s not always going to be around.

Peace Out

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