What do I Think About the Internet? 1-14-17

What do I Think About the Internet? (more specifically social media)

Life con me circa 1996-2012, think of that guy from back in school everyone seemed to like now he wasn’t particularly ‘cool’ nor ‘uncool’ he’s just got A’s in school without seeming to put out any effort. He’s always willing to help you with that math problem and explain it in non, “I’ve been doing math for 50 years and I know every confusing math term so I’m going to explain it like you’ve already taken Quantum physics” sort of way. He wasn’t on any sports teams but toss him a ball and he was in the game or throw him a controller and he’d game with out too. He finished his class work for the day before the first break and spent the rest of the day goofing off, reading a book or helping other students, and spent his fair share of time being lectured by the principal yet they still had a cordial rapport. That guy was me, okay probably not the exact guy you’re thinking of because I wasn’t at every school but you get my point.

Growing up we had one television in the house up until about 7th grade, but we weren’t allowed to watch it on school days or for more than an hour per day so at most I had about two hours of t.v. at home per week. I thought it was extremely unfair at the time because not only did all my friends have as much time as they wanted watching t.v. they also had game consoles to play on. So obviously ‘the gang’ spent most of our time at well not my house, unless we were building ramps to jump then generally that was at my place for storage. The internet also wasn’t really much of a thing yet (at-least not like it is now), wow that makes me sound old but it really wasn’t that long ago. With few electronics to distract me I was always still doing something mostly reading and playing but I got a lot into and out of each day.

Somewhere around 8th grade my aunt got us an Xbox, I bought my first computer and we got satellite internet which although slow it was so much better than the dial-up we had before. Along with the new toys and the new higher speed internet youtube was taking off myspace was getting big and streaming online was starting to destroy the movie rental industry ( over the next few years). I started gaming more and thinking less, although gaming online did help me learn to type quickly at my peak I was well over 85 words per minute with 100% accuracy. I watched more television (Doctor who was brought back) Stargate was booming it was a good time for television series.

Now that I’m a bit older and have experienced both 2 hours of television a week and the television show binge I can honestly say that keeping me away from the t.v. and not giving us gaming consoles was probably one of the best parenting decisions that my parental units could have made (even though it was mostly due to financial constraints). Now don’t get me wrong I played my fair share of video games growing up it was just mostly at my friends houses and I still pop on once in a while to spend some time playing online with my brother and brother in-law since they are around 3000 and 6000 miles away it’s about the only way we can interact on a more meaningful level than texting. I also probably watch too many shows but it’s usually in binge sessions so that’s not as bad? Or is it worse, who knows. What I don’t do is spend time on social media, I still have all my accounts I just don’t use them except to log into websites that I use to learn. With just cutting out that scrolling through news feeds I’ve found that I have enough time to watch the shows and still get everything I need to get done completed. If I cut out the shows who knows what I could get done… Perhaps an experiment for another time because Sherlock and Doctor Who are starting up and I can’t miss those…

Right about the time I stopped using social media my father found it, since then he’s gone from always going around doing projects to a virtual couch potato watching the “News” and scrolling through facebook all day now that he’s retired. There are still projects to do but you couldn’t drag him away from his tablet and tv even if you had a tractor. I’ve tried to help him see what it’s doing to him but like most addicts he can’t see that there is a problem. It is an addiction, one that if allowed will be all consuming there’s always a show playing or someone posting on facebook. I’ve had many friends that have been addicted to alcohol or drugs and it’s nearly identical to internet addiction (more specifically social media addiction). If they are without it for a period of time they are constantly checking their phones even though there are no updates, irritable mood etc. It’s a fascinating phenomenon to watch and when you think about then it makes sense, but if you don’t think about it… well then you’re probably one of those people wasting loads of time not gaining any knowledge or information on the internet.

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Just think if you told someone 20, 50, 500 years ago that hey I have this device here called a phone that allows me to access almost all of the knowledge and information gathered by modern society. They would be astonished and probably accuse you of witchcraft, then you tell them but mostly I use it to; check to see what my friends on instagram are eating or what my friends are thinking while they’re sitting on the toilet and even just to sit for hours and watch videos of cats being clumsy. I don’t think that’d go over so well they’d probably smack you upside the head and ask if you’re stupid or just an idiot. We are in the easiest time period of any known to us throughout human history. and we waste so much time on social media or dumb videos (which are fine now and then for a laugh but consistently and for hours on end??). If you are the average social media user you spend about 1.67 hours a day on social media if this holds true and you don’t change your habits and you live to a nice age say 70 years from when you created your social media accounts then you will have spent around 1777 days of your life on social media alone (not counting youtube). That is almost 5 years of your life! Five years that’s enough time to do so much either learning, projects, travel or spend time with loved-ones. I mean is it really all that difficult to stop reading that Jimmy had a big mac and now he’s been on the toilet for the past 3 hours… seriously?(Gosh darn-it eat some more fiber and stop eating that Mc’garbage Jimmy! I’ve told you this 1000 times!)

When I found out how much I could accomplish when I cut out social media (and cat videos), I mean it was like someone added more hours in the day and made the sunshine a little bit brighter. There’s just no way I will ever go back to being a social media drone, there’s just too much to experience in the real world and life’s too short (and if you spent those 5 years researching maybe you could come up with a way to make life longer who knows).

Anyhow that’s just what I think.

 

 

 

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Jon

Creator of The Smarter Society.

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