Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Family Torn (by Facebook): Part II

Here is the first part of "A Family Torn (by Facebook).

The following story represents the discord that Facebook and (a)social media has wrought in the home of the 'typical' family.  

A Family Torn

Tiffany sat with her fingers furiously moving across the keyboard on her phone as her mother, Linda, drove her to her school.  Tiffany did not look up at all as she typed.  The mother and daughter both sat in awkward silence as the car rushed towards Lakeview High School.  Linda pulled into the school parking lot behind a couple of school buses and Tiffany opened the door, almost dropping her phone onto the pavement below.  "Thanks mom!  See you tonight," Tiffany said, walking off.  Linda looked behind her to pull back out, noticing her daughter moving ever slowly while typing on her phone. 

So what, she uses her phone a lot, Linda thought to herself, it's not worth getting worked up over.  Linda pulled out of the school and made her way to her job.  She realized that she had a headache now developing and it seemed to be going nowhere.  Her eyes watered as she made her way down an arterial street towards the freeway that would lead to her place of employment.  A car slammed on its breaks in front of her and she found herself almost rear ending it.  Her head continued to pound.  I can't go in like this.

A few minutes later, Linda's car moved into her driveway and she climbed out of it.  She made her way toward the front door.  Upon reaching it, Linda realized that she left the keys in the car.  Great, she thought to herself.  She went to open the car door and noticed that it was locked.  The keys dangled in plain view right in front of her.  Her cellular phone and purse were on the passenger's seat.  Linda looked at them, then, feeling her head pounding, she began to cry.

Linda sat on the step in front of the main door of her house while cars passed.  A young kid came by and offered to tell her about his spiritual beliefs and the path towards salvation.  Linda shook her head at him but accepted a pamphlet that he gave her.  It sat on the cement next to her.  Hours slowly passed as neighbors drove by, pretending to not look at her.  I wish I could text message Tiffany, Linda thought.  How did people ever live without cellular phones? 

Eventually five o'clock came and Greg's car pulled into the driveway behind Linda's.  Greg got out of the car, opening his cellular phone for a moment.  "What happened?" Greg questioned, looking at Linda who stood up.  Her face was red from being in the sun all day.  She moved toward him slowly and told him that her keys were locked in the car.

"I take it you were not able to pick up Tiffany?" Greg asked.  He unlocked Linda's car door and handed her the keys and her purse.  She looked at her phone and noticed there were about twenty text messages between her daughter and her boss.  "I am going to get her now," Linda said. 
"I can do it," Greg said, walking back to his car.
"No, I will," Linda said, not wanting the two to get into another argument.
"You are clearly in no condition to drive.  Go rest," Greg said, getting into his late model Honda and pulling back out of the driveway. 
"Don't start anything with her!" Linda yelled, feeling her head throb with each word.

"Your father is going to pick you up right now," Linda texted to Tiffany.  Linda felt her face burning and went inside the house as Greg's car disappeared down the street.

Tiffany sat near a large pine tree where she sent texts to her friends and updated her beloved Facebook profile.  Greg arrived, noticing his daughter in the school yard texting like a fiend.  He waited for her to notice him, eventually realizing that he could sit there all evening and deep into night and she would probably not look up.  He honked once and she still did not budge.  One more honk got her attention.  She stood up, in the middle of a text, and wandered slowly towards the car, continuing to send her all-important text message. 

"Finally," she said, getting into the car. 
"Not a thank you?" Greg asked.
"I've been waiting for almost three hours," Tiffany huffed.
"Your mom had some trouble.  And you're doing the same thing here as you would have done at home."
"It's embarrassing being left at the school like that," Tiffany said.
"You know, it's only a couple of miles to home.  You could have walked."
"I don't think so dad."
There was a long pause as Greg drove them toward the house.
"I think we need to have a talk," he said, pulling the car over to the side of the street a few blocks from home.
"About what?" Tiffany said, now updating her Facebook profile.
"You are literally always on that phone of yours.  You don't have any life outside of it."
"Yes I do.  I have friends on here.  I don't get what your problem is with it."
"I don't think it's healthy for you."
"Mom said to leave me alone about it.  She said..."
"Well, I say different, and your mother is not the only boss in this family."
"I think I am going to walk after all," Tiffany said, climbing out of the car.
"You are out of control!" Greg yelled out of the window as he drove slowly behind her.  He honked at her once but she didn't look back. 

Greg knew that he would hear about this from Linda and slowly watched from behind as Tiffany made her way home.  She walked slower than ever, glued to her phone, texting friends and updating her Facebook profile.  Sometimes she would stop to send a tweet and a person who walked behind her would pass by, exasperated.

Sometimes Tiffany would walk through a lawn, oblivious to the fact she had left the sidewalk as she texted and typed and sent the all-important messages to her friends.  At one point she almost tripped over a fire hydrant!  Her father watched, perplexed as she hit a mailbox as she moved slowly forward.  She stood in front of it for about a minute and a half as she finished a text. 

Although Tiffany only had to walk five blocks to her house, it took her nearly half an hour!  Linda watched as Greg pulled into the driveway and Tiffany walked slowly down the sidewalk.  Linda covered her head, which was now crimson red, and made her way down the stairs to confront her husband.  She was fuming with anger at this point, and wondered why in the world Tiffany was walking home and Greg was following her slowly in the car.  There would have to be some answers.

To be continued...


  1. I'm very impressed by this blog. It just tells all the truth about today's communication media, like cellphones, Facebook, Twitter and other (a)social media. I just don't understand how my classmates at the college can post several words status updates and all sorts of senseless things each few minutes in Facebook, and still not get deeply stressed and sick of all that crap.
    Furthermore, we have to deliver multiple assignments on time and they still play 3D and (a)social online games late at night (1 - 2 am) when they have to be awake at 5:30 am.
    I think that the excessive and irrational use of technology (which still has its good things, such as not having to travel tens of kilometers when having to send an important document or message, and it happens to me almost everyday) is destroying the essence of the human society.
    Youtube is another site which can be included in this list; it can be called something as "the video (a)social network by excellence". I don't deny that youtube can have its good things (in this very moment, I'm listening to a live-recorded concert, as I often do), but it's just like all the other today's big web platforms today: bloated, with non-essential features, with (a)social networking and "sharing" features, like commenting.
    Sometimes, I see myself suddenly glued to that site two or three hours, watching all sorts of senseless things. Youtube has loads of crappy and stupid things: UFO scams, reincarnations, ghosts scams, made up miracles, silly jokes, etc, etc.
    Yet it's like a magnet for anyone bored, depressed, or stressed from living in highly trafficked cities and not spending any time with the family or in contact with nature, or having trouble with REAL socializing, or other issues frequently associated to modern lifestyle.
    And there are those pieces of software called videogames. At first I had access to computers when I was 13, and liked to play arcade videogames until late night. Thankfully, I entered in these beautiful days of teenage when one wants to exercise and waste energy all the day, and started to jog, ride bicycles, play soccer sometimes and expend hours at the countryside.
    I turned 14 and a few months later I give up practically all the videogames, and only used computers to ocassionally do writing and sometimes browsing the internet on coffees (56 kb dial-up, those beautiful old days of 2003, websites highly optimized for that speed; no smartphones and no (a)social networking).
    But some people get so addicted to videogames (almost as powerful as chemical drugs but in a visual form) that they lose the sense and porpose of their lives.
    Even today, when all my classmates have powerful graphics cards and play 3D online games, I consider those games as stressing (in this sense, I prefer to write code in x64 assembly) and a complete waste of time.
    I'd be glad if you take a chance to write several articles on Youtube and videogames and how they are damaging the society and killing the common sense. Ironically, I recommend you watching this on the topic of games addiction:

  2. I'm really impressed by your blog, as it really tells one all the truth about modern communications and media. I already have read almost all the articles on the blog about Facebook and (a)social networks in general, and I'm shocked how straight all they are. I set up my Facebook in March 2011, and I don't log in so often. But I didn't really take on account how powerful psychological effect it (and other (a)social media) may have.
    I'd be very glad if you take a chance for writing about two topics I'm thinking about: Youtube and videogames.
    Everyone knows Youtube. Just like Facebook, cellular phones (your article from April about them is brilliant) and other media, it can be like a powerful magnet for anyone depressed, stressed and/or tired of living in trafficked and polluted cities, being troubled with REAL offline socializing, having bad familiar relationships or simply beign addicted. It can be called, in few words: "The video (a)social network by excellence". I admit that I sometimes find myself hooked to that site two or three hours watching senseless videos, and then I suddenly realize it's 1:00 AM and I didn't finished that homework which I have to deliver next morning. As any network of his type, it has a commenting feature, where people write things often bordering in the insanity. Youtube has lots of idiotic things: UFO scams, ghosts scams, reincarnation stories (I don't know if you already have seen the history of the kid from Mars called Boriska who supposedly is a reincarnated alien, just search), senseless methods for losing weight, etc, etc.
    Now I come on with that pieces of software, the well known videogames. I just can't understand how the hell my classmates in th college play 3D/(a)social videogames when we have to deliver lots of homeworks. Sometimes I hear and see them on Facebook commenting that they are playing those games at 2 - 3 AM when they have to get up at 5:30 - 6 AM in order to arrive in time to the school. And I don't know if you have already seen this documentary (ironically it's on Youtube): Especially the second part. I can't believe that someone in Earth is capable of playing those games 10 hours in a day; they are boring and stressing (on this matter, I would prefer to code x64 assembly all that time). The 3D and (a)social videogames over the internet are almost like alcohol or illegal drugs, but in a visual form.
    I had access to computers when I was 13, and as a result I started to like playing arcade and other types of games until past midnigth sometimes, several hours a day. But then I turned 14 and entered in those days of teenage when one wants to waste out as much energy as possible; I started to do things like jogging across kilometers, riding bycicles, playing soccer sometimes and spending hours at the contryside either working or doing things with my family, among other things. I forgot games almost completely, and I used computers only for do some writing or going to a coffee and browsing the Internet, in 2003-2004, with only 56 kbps dialup and websites well optimized for that speed. No (a)social networking, no smartphones, no Facebook. Only real socializing and real living. Bautiful days.
    Finally, I don't deny that internet and communications can have their useful things, like email technology freeing me from having to travel tens of kilometers when I have to send or receive some important document(s) or information, specially if it has to be quickly (and that happens me almost everyday). But the use of the technology is being abused without any precendent. I wish you could write something about these two topics.

  3. Do you have a Part III to this article?