So I’m starting this last weekly blog entry in the air thanks to Google’s free holiday wifi on Airtran. It’s kind of difficult for me to wrap my head around how it’s possible to be on a plane and be able surf the internet at the same time.
So before I really get into this week’s topic, I have a quick and somewhat related story. So, I’m always meeting strange people whenever I’m flying or traveling anywhere alone. I’m pretty sure I have some sign on my face that says “Will talk to strangers.” I can never just have a normal flight where I can get to point A to point B without something weird happening.
Today is no different. On my last flight that connected in Atlanta I was sitting next to Clifton Powell this C- list African American actor. If you saw him you would definitely recognize him but not be able to place him. It was kind of odd that I was sitting next to him on the plane since he was on a different flight to a different city with me when I was on my way somewhere else on Friday. I remember seeing him because I couldn’t place how I knew him at the time.
At first I was convinced he was Eddie Murphy which I thought didn’t make a lot of sense because it was business class on Airtran…which is a lot like getting the VIP treatment at TGI Fridays (not something you should be excited about ) which obviously Eddie Murphy is (probably) a little bit above that and in retrospect he probably flies in a private jet.
So after I ruled out Eddie Murphy in my head I decided that it might be Charlie Murphy which I laughed to myself about because of this video (warning NSFW) which is basically the most hilarious Dave Chapelle show sketch ever. But of course it isn’t either of the Murphy’s it is this guy who has been in just about every ghetto movie released since about 1991. And as luck would have it he remembers me from the flight on Friday (probably since I was staring at him so intently trying to figure out who the heck he was) and he decided that that was an invitation to talk my ear off.
So I have my Hamlet’s Blackberry book with me and he asks me about the book so I gave him a synopsis of what it was about and he went into a tangent about how he hates technology because you can “never really say goodbye” which I thought was an interesting way to sum it up. With all of the tools and technology we have today we honestly can never really say goodbye. We can never “hang up” or really “sign off” and be completely inaccessible from people. There really are so few places (at least in the U.S.) that you can truly be free from technology and no one can reach you. Now you’re even reachable as a passenger on a plane 30,000 feet in the air.
Even though I normally talk about its positive aspects, I think that if I thoroughly analyzed the effect social media has had overall on my life I would have to say that it probably been more negative than positive. Not only is social media a major distraction for me it also, at the end of the day, probably makes me less social in a meaningful way. I’m not sure that interactions online are truly as meaningful for us as human beings than actually talking to someone and engaging with them in person. Humans have to have that interaction in person to actually survive. I’ve always thought that it would be an interesting experiment to see what would happen if a human was completely isolated from others with the exception of being able to connect with them through technology. Would they eventually go crazy? I think so.
I think the most interesting thing I took away from Hamlet’s Blackberry is the fact that humans have been grappling with changes and advances in technology since the beginning of time. This is not a new struggle for us as humans and we are just trying to figure out what to do with all of this technology just as people have been doing for generations.
I don’t think social media will ever go away it will just take on a different role in our lives. In the beginning of the semester I wrote about time management and minimizing the ways that people can access you and I think that’s the key to using social media successfully. With social media you are giving the entire world (or it at least seems like it) access to you. You have to make boundaries and create barriers to the way that everyone can access you. I think ultimately people will realize that this is the only way to keep social media in your life and not have it engulf every moment of your day.