The internet. Where do I even start?
Last Sunday whilst sitting on a bench in Greenwich, James and I were feeling philosophical and took some time to ponder how far mankind had come as a species (heavy, I know, but stay with me). We spoke about the way technology had progressed in the last 100 years, how things had changed since we were children in the late nineties/early 2000’s, and how amazing it was now that we had the internet. All the knowledge we could ever desire was a mere two clicks away, thanks to the likes of Google and Wikipedia. The question which arose between the two of us was whether this was really a blessing or indeed a curse.
The internet is a notoriously prickly subject, and sparks many a conversation, both good and bad. Growing up as part of a generation who blossomed along with the ‘World Wise Web’, I feel like I have as good a right as any to comment on it (very millennial of me, I know).
It’s by no means an overstatement to say that most of us live our lives online now. We can shop, spend and stalk all from the comfort of our own homes. Social media is no longer limited MSN accounts of antisocial teenagers, but comes in all shapes and sizes. Even my grandparents have Facebook and they’re in their 80s.
At present we are the most advanced we’ve ever been (well in terms of technology anyway). When I travelled and found myself lonely on the other side of the world, all I had to do was pick up my trusty IPhone and I could see the faces of my loved ones. They knew I was alive and OK, I was always able to keep in contact to let them know I was safe and hadn’t been murdered. The internet helped keep me connected with my friends and family in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago.
Also thanks to the likes of Instagram and Facebook I was able to show everyone what I was getting up to, and reconnect with people I had met whilst travelling around. Facebook especially was a fantastic tool to meet up with people when I was on my own, a simple status update helped me establish whether anyone I knew was close by and fancied a meet.
Recently my best friend went off grid. No, she didn’t cut all ties and move to cabin in the woods, she simply deleted Facebook and Instagram. ‘What was the need’ I hear you cry, surely this seems a little hasty? But I think she may be onto something. For Liv (the aforementioned best friend) she felt that social media was a distraction she could do without. She had totted up all the time she was spending scrolling through the various outlets and decided that it was a massive waste of time. No longer did she feel bogged down by social media.
“But what if people forgot about you?”
I know it sounds silly to think that not having Facebook would make our friends forget our existence but in some ways in true. A invitation to a party or event is all the easier when it’s sent in the form of a Facebook request. Having everyone on the same accessible platform makes life easy. And that is the biggest qualm I have with social media. I think it’s making us lazy. No longer do we have to meet up with people to know what they are doing, because they post their every movement online. We are lulled into a false sense of security in feeling that we know what is going on in the lives of those around us, even if we haven’t seen them in months, because we can still see what they are getting up to via the media of the internet.
Now despite my earlier to declaration of being a ‘millennial queen-of-tech’ I am by no means qualified in telling you how to ditch the internet and live a happy life offline, however I think the key to my own happiness would be by ensuring I have a healthy balance. It’s important to take some time to switch off your phone and just enjoy being with those around you (she says as she spends her evening blogging rather than talking to her boyfriend). Try to find the best of both worlds. Enjoy your scroll, mindless and relaxing then take a step back.