Nov 19, 2013

The Direction of Society Makes Me Sad (Wait, That's Anger...)

I read a book last week that I will go ahead and leave nameless. Here's what I thought it was about: People's obsession with social media, connectedness, sharing every detail of their lives online, and how to find a better balance with real life and virtual life. Here's what it was actually about: Everything I hate about society today that sets fire to a ball of frustration in my belly. 

Technology is great. Social media definitely has its benefits. I mean, due to the Internet, you get you read all of my random thoughts. I mean, how great is that? (Said no one ever.) What I dislike so much about social is the reliance, the drama, and the degradation of personal communication. It's clear that social media adds this whole new level to personal drama: bullying, passive aggressiveness, public fights, public humiliations, and the loss of empathy that comes with being able to tear someone apart with the click of a button instead of looking them in the eye. I can't stand how people with my phone number and email address say to me that they didn't tell me X, Y or Z because I'm not on Facebook. (WHAT?! You're not on Facebook? Are you INSANE?!) We could all use a little less of everything. Myself included. I admit, I'm way too attached to my phone. 

Anyways, back to the book. There are sections, like the below, that just blow my mind. People really think like this? Really? 

"As well as planning a strategy for announcing their pregnancy, it's perfectly normal these days to hear expectant parents say things like, "I wanted to name my child XYZ, but the domain wasn't available so we chose a different name," or " I need to make sure I can claim a decent Gmail address and Twitter handle for my child before we tell anyone the name we've decided on." Apparently, baby naming has turned into a cutthroat land grab, where expectant mommies and daddies lay claim to valuable digital real estate before deciding on a perfectly unique, perfectly Google-able baby name.

I used to think this was weird, but I've changed my mind and now think that it is an acceptable, and actually, responsible thing to do."

This layered on top of reading some studies that said fun stats like people would rather go to jail for a night than give up their social accounts for the weekend. Or the one that says they'd rather not see their significant other for a week when asked to choose between their cell phone or boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse.  
Where does the insanity stop? Well I wanted to name my daughter Agnes after my grandmother who meant more to me than anything in the world, but wasn't available, so eh, fuck it.  Sigh. Should I get a cane now and start chasing kids off the lawn? Perhaps.

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