by Micah Mason
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When you go about your daily business for many of you it involves the use of a communicative technology, for most you can just observe others being attached to their respective devices. Almost everyone is familiar with texting, facebook, twitter, vine, instagram, youtube, etc. All of these programs and utilities entrench the time of many users being involved in their everyday lives. What is of concern is how much time is invested within such realms of usage. There are those that spend countless hours upon things like facebook and twitter trying to find out the latest trends as well as focusing on sharing every detail of their life. The new fad of taking your own picture to display it for the masses has arisen via sites like instagram. The new generations of cell phones encourage you to invest a crazy amount of time interacting with others through digital means. It almost seems like a lost art for interpersonal communication anymore. Youtube somewhat bridges that gap because a lot of people are finding ways to interact differently within a public setting in regards to social experiments and the like. These forms of people who are primarily focused on getting likes, retweets, subscribers, etc. are what I would like to call “virtual people”.
Whichever platform you prefer to use there is that certain allure drawing you to continue using it. I know of situations where people will be within the same room of a household for example, but instead of carrying on a normal conversation they result to texting with their phones to conduct their conversation. Many people who wouldn’t dare say certain remarks to someone’s face are often displayed for millions to see via 140 characters or whatever it is upon twitter. Not to mention the plethora of people who normally don’t share much with their closest friends, but find it appropriate to air dirty laundry on facebook for everyone to see who they may or may not actually interact with… yet still have as “friends”. This creates many problems and seems to have hindered the actual element of communication more than it has helped. Many people are using these platforms to be an escape and excuse for mistreating people or pulling unsuspecting pranks that could cause harm as you see most often times on youtube.
Lots of people do utilize these programs for good reasons; these platforms aren’t all bad by any means. However, they have given us as people excuses to ignore others or propel abnormal expression. If anything there are plenty more virtual people walking the streets today than ever expected. Many of these things just flared up over the past few years, but have overtaken our society like a wildfire. There seems to be a sense of normalcy now in sharing every little detail about yourself in a widespread fashion. This wasn’t only uncommon as recent as 10 years ago, but almost unheard of because of the value in privacy for instance. There was also a lot of paranoia that came with information being provided for a lot of people to see in regards to identity theft or potential unwanted attention. The majority of that seems to have gone out the window and now more than ever anyone who wants access to a particular person’s background seems to have it. Not much digging is needed these days to delve into the life of a complete stranger and they are the ones providing all of the information willingly.
These virtual people seem to be a new breed in a sense, because again in the most severe cases there are many that view the most important things to be the attention they get through the platforms of their choice. Many purposefully induce controversial content to acquire a more widespread reaction. This tends to create conflict and situations that were unnecessary. Some take the time to try and deal with what it was they released taking a form of responsibility whereas others just use it as ammunition to continue acting in a way that may not be completely themselves, but gets them attention. There appears to be a sense of addiction tied to many of these platforms that appeals to the ego driven and fame seeking personalities out there. The problem I view is that there are many times where there isn’t an actual message behind the majority of the content, but rather a selfish net to see how many people it can snatch up. No sense of meaning or purpose, just the hope of getting personal attention in a way that can be easily utilized.
Do you know people who have completely changed in relation to these newer technologies? They seem more distant and out of touch as a person, but highly invest time into these realms of communication? It is hard not to atleast witness these sorts of people when you venture out into the public anymore. Many people even let it take attention away from their driving, work, and other personal responsibilities. How is it that your relationship with these “virtual people” has changed? Do you consider yourself tied into the “virtual people”? I’ll admit I’ve taken advantage of what facebook had to offer initially and watch youtube videos every so often. I will also state that I do not invest a vast amount of hours actively participating in their tools nor do I even text message. I can honestly appreciate the new technologies and programs for some of their quality efficient uses, but the drones I see result from over indulging gives me pause as to what is really being accomplished.
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