This is something I think of from time to time. There used to be a time when I could remember and dial a friend’s telephone number directly from memory. In fact, I still remember many phone numbers from my days growing up in NY, and it has been 14 years since I left there. The problem I have is that while I can remember those numbers–probably because I had to memorize them back then–I cannot for the life of me remember any phone numbers of the people I have met in recent years! At least I know, and can admit, that it’s due to having a cell phone which stores everything and enables me to not have to think of it much. But it’s not just about phone numbers…
Many people are pointing to technology as a cause of childhood obesity. More and more studies are being done on the issue, and the common result is an increase in this trend. The most common causes are typically television and video games, which have replaced playing sports or running around outside with fiends as the prevalent after-school activities for many children. For adults, the accused culprits are different yet the same, for example people spending more time driving and less time walking or biking to reach their destinations, or more time catching up on the DVR than exercising.
Have you ever noticed that some people are constantly on social networking sites and have tons of “friends” or followers, yet you never see them out? Or how about people that check into every single friggin’ place they go without fail? I have actually seen one such instance where someone I know checked into an exit off of I-95! I kid you not. There seem to be an increasing number of people who cannot do anything without tweeting or checking in or posting about it.
It just seems to me that sometimes technology causes people to lose a bit of–I don’t even know what to call it–brainpower for lack of a better term. The culture of immediate response had led to something that troubles me very much. I have noticed that many people, particularly the younger generations simply cannot spell or speak correctly. Even when they aren’t using text messaging or Twitter which creates the need to truncate complete thoughts into bit here and pieces there, there is still something off. If you look at Facebook, where people have the ability to, and often times do write long status updates, how many do you see that are rife with spelling errors, use of the wrong tense, misuse of words and other communication basics that should have been mastered in elementary or junior high school.
Have you every noticed how some people online seem to be so open and opinionated, yet when you are in an actual social setting, they are as lively as trees? It’s like when they step away from the keyboard, they step into this bubble of social awkwardness.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, you have those who seem to have no sense of self, or shame. Everything they have is due in some part (most likely a large part) to technology. The nobody who becomes famous because of a sex tape that was “leaked” onto the internet. The idiot who does stupid things and posts to YouTube getting a following of other slacker-types and parlays that into a reality-tv show. The completely moronic comments by the self-promoter (yes, you Money Mayweather!) and other self-control lacking fools who take to social media to boost their visibility.
It may just be the way in which the world is evolving, with technological advances being demanded and pushed by both consumers and manufacturers respectively. It may also be simply the meandering of a part-time cynic. But, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge proponent of technology. I am in favor of anything that makes life easier, as long as it isn’t taken so far as to remove the importance of maintaining mental ability and basic things such as interpersonal communication and basic reasoning.
What are your thoughts? Do you feel that people are becoming too technologically dependent? Is the proliferation of technological advances impairing peoples’ general ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Are some people just idiotic or attention whores to begin with while technology has simply allowed them to prove it to a wider audience?