Social media, a major part of today’s total lifestyle for those tied to the World Wide Web—users of smartphones and text-enabled cell phones—gripped this writer ostentatiously back in the antediluvian era of Usenet and IRC (Internet Relay Chat), where all of our acronyms like “lol, lmao, roflmao, brb, ttyl, ta, tia,” originated.
Those silly emoticons we paste onto our text messages to tell one another that this is suppose to be funny hearkens from the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Even if a message is thoroughly meant to be insulting or derogatory, a winking smiley face attached to the intended slight makes it all OK, for which one shouldn’t get all riled up.
Onward, more sophisticated chat rooms developed on CompuServe, the first US commercial online service provider; and finally on to AOL, when social-media sites began spawning like salmon upstream.
Classmates.com is considered the first to do so, succeeded by weblog-initiators: Open Diary and later their competitor, LiveJournal, on which this blog was originally hosted.
At the advent of broadband, I shut off dial-up and proceeded to roam the Web at breakneck speed via the cable network, never-before fathomed by one who had utilized a 56K phone-line modem that at the time seemed like a jet engine, following the usages of a 14K model, and a 9600-baud dinosaur before that.
Then came Myspace, various video-chat sites, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter; which takes us up to present.
Mobile technology has enabled the Internet-addicted individuals to never be offline, unless their batteries discharge and no place is available to plug in a charger. These net junkies and phone-a-holics can be seen everywhere, everyday, 24-7, clutching their communication contrivances, checking them every two to three minutes—even while having a conversation with someone face-to-face—which is extremely rude.
One of my tirades from a couple of years ago dealt with those who babble incessantly on their cell phones in public places, probably one of my top three pet peeves. As a street photographer, I notice in every photo snapped, containing around ten people, at least seven persons are either talking on their cellular, reading something on its HD digital screen, or scrolling through messages from their social-networking Website of choice.
Hi, my name is Mike Slickster, and I’m a Web addict, mostly on Twitter, but Facebook and a host of others. I’m guilty of checking my smartphone, not as frequently as those mentioned previously; however, at least once or twice an hour.
Talking on my mobile device in public is kept to a minimum, and only if called; for which I tell the person on the other end, I’ll call them right back when I’m in the car or outside alone. What’s the big deal for someone to do that?
My temper boils to almost vaporization when an annoying blabbermouth is standing in line next to me at a check-out counter, chattering away a mile a minute, bringing me to the brink of telling them to STFU (another nice acronym from IRC).
For the past four days, I abstained from my beloved social media, only logging on a couple of times a day, satisfying my internal cravings and acting like a buffer to lessen extreme withdrawal symptoms.
It’s fascinating how many various, neglected tasks can be accomplished when not consistently lazing online to see what’s happening, feeling obligated to respond to mentions and jawing with friends made on the various outlets. I even took time off to write an entry in my journal, something lacking as of late.
This topic leads me to question, would I have become as habitually lazy in my present state of affairs, had I not become so incredibly involved with such a habit-forming medium as the Internet? What more could I have achieved? After all, over twenty years on the Net is about one-quarter of one’s lifespan, closer to a third for many unfortunates.
Music would have been a great pastime on which to focus during my free time, as had been the case in my younger years. My aspirations for writing could have been fully realized by now.
Perhaps I would still be working eight-to-five, having channeled my energies on business rather than on the Social Web. Could this be the Beast? We’re all assigned an IP address, and a large percentage of the civilized world logs onto the Net almost daily, worshiping whatever infernal social-media Website to which they’re subscribed.
My obligations for the past four days are now over, and I’ll most likely fall back into my indolent ways of tramping around the Information Super Highway (I still love to use that phrase), logging many miles as I have always done for many years.
The old biblical saying, “A leopard can’t change his spots,” applies here for this social-medially addicted net junkie. Perhaps I’ll just not log on as often. Right, let’s see how long that lasts.