Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Golden Age of Modern Civilization



There comes a time in everyone's life when they look back to their youth or to some time in the past and reminisce. We tell ourselves that it was better back in those days. We sigh, wishing that we were there at that golden time which is forever gone. For me those days were the days before cellular (mobile) phones became mainstream. Before the internet took complete hold, and before the words 'online social network' were ever spoken.  The Golden Age of Modern Civilization.

Those days are forever gone. I remember life not always being great back then, but I do remember going outside and walking down the street and not being almost plowed over by some oblivious 'soulless' texter. I remember going on a bus ride without everyone glued to a small rectangular device. I remember going to a restaurant and people talking to each other. Imagine, going out with someone and your date not having to stop to check who texted him. Imagine not having to be glued to a social network site when you are at the park? Those thoughts will be completely alien to some.  To others they are brilliant and glorious thoughts.  Where oh where have those days gone?

The reality is, I must learn to accept the fact that I will never again see that time. The modern world is a world obsessed with cellular phones and social networking. A world in which you can not get on the subway without having over 3/4 the riders eyes on their private screen.



To some people this may come as a shock: the United States is not the only country obsessed with cellular phones! For example, India has more cellar phones than toilets[1]  And, no, that does not mean they go to the bathroom on their cell phones there.  According to the article published by NPR, " India's rapid economic growth — and its long-standing poverty — are also reflected in the census. More than half of all Indian households now have cellphones, but fewer than half have toilets." While this can, in theory, be looked at as a good thing, the reality is, the dynamic of cellular phones being introduced to the poorest segments of the population may not be a boon. Cellular phones are addictive. Much time spent on cellular phones is spent on social networking sites (this is where Facebook starts to rear its ugly little head). In fact, according to my page views, India is the third most represented country that looks at this site. Facebook is huge in India, and so is technology. The dynamic of Facebook and cellular phones may turn out to be far different in India than it did in the United States (and it's a disaster here - a real travesty). It is hard to say how this will play out in the future, but it goes to show that the Facebook addiction is not only confined to the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. No, it is truly an international epidemic. World War III may take place on Facebook. 

In 2007, Nokia's henchmen took a trip to India in order to entrench their cell phones into the Indian subcontinent. The objective: to get the rural farmers to purchase cellular phones. According to the highly renowned and ultra-respected New York Times, "'The object is to establish the concept of phones, and the need for phones,' said Suresh Sundaram, Nokia's national retail marketing manager in India, who was in Mundawar on Friday with the van."[2]

This article is now five years old. Many of those farmers may have buried their beloved phones. Others probably kept them. Some may have given up farming and now Facebook for a living. Other farmers may have seen their crops die as they spent their days ignoring them while instead playing Farmville.

The world is inundated with cell phones and social networking. It is harrowing -- terrifying to think of how fast things have progressed in the past decade. When I graduated from high school in 2000, I got my first cell phone. The screen was not in the full vivid color as you see on phones today, in fact, the screen was in  green and black. I could surf a very rudimentary internet which had a few web pages. There was no such thing as MySpace, Facebook, I Can Haz Cheezburger, etc. (Rotten.com was huge however). Ebay was sparkling new as was Amazon.com. Blogging was a word I had never heard spoken. I remember my ceullar plan was limited to a couple hundred minutes a month and was expensive.  Now you can get a cell phone subsidized by the U.S. government[3]. The reality is, cell phone technology is much cheaper than it ever has been before. Ten years ago I would have never imagined Uncle Sam paying for cell phones.  Now if you don't have a cell phone in the US you are ridiculed -- a pariah.

Much of the world now has access to cell phones and cellular technology (which I think is a good thing, it's great that people can have similar access to things). However, the reality is, Facebook and the hateful and spiteful Twitter have entrenched themselves into society. Their devious ways and their foaming lips usurp anyone and everyone into their pacifying and life-stagnating clutches. The poor segments of our population do a disservice to themselves by becoming addicted to Facebook, Twitter, and their ilk. Such social networking only causes stagnation and strife.  How does one climb out of poverty when their life is spent on updating their status and reading an epicly long 140 character tweet?

                       

Yes, the days of my youth are long gone. I am the grumpy old man who sits outside the deli on a bench and tries to grab at young kids, reaching and cursing as he clenches towards a fancy sparkling iPhone or Droid phone. I am the angry man who cusses under his breath because his whole family has DISOWNED him for Facebook. Because his OWN MOTHER HAS THREE FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS THAT HE KNOWS OF (and possibly many, many more that he doesn't know of).  I am sick and tired of going into a restaurant and having to hear the word Facebook, Twitter, or hear the sounds of a prepubescent child text in a mad frenzy. I am the angry old man who secretly wishes the days of the past would come back. But he knows that they won't, and it drives him just a little more mad each and every day.

When the government subsidizes Facebook and the crops die as farmers instead play Farmville, the world is in trouble. DOWN WITH FACEBOOK. DOWN WITH TWITTER. DOWN WITH SOCIAL NETWORKING!!!!!

Sources:
[1]http://www.npr.org/2012/04/08/150133880/indias-census-lots-of-cellphones-too-few-toilets
[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/technology/06iht-wireless07.1.5582419.html
[3] https://www.safelinkwireless.com/Safelink/

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Down with Facebook! I finally deleted my account, after years of debating and trying. There is a secret satisfaction though, while everyone else is distracted, knowing that I can enjoy life without having to share it with the world. Tonight, as a reward for surviving two whole weeks waiting for Facebook to finally be deleted from my life, I am buying a bike. Unexplored woods, here I come! Alone! :)

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