George Orwell Was Right on So Many Levels
The Twisted Institution That is Social Media
We are all part of the society of Social Media in one aspect, or 20 others. Either we write on a platform such as this, or are members of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Have you ever stopped and tried to remember what life was like before this craze started? How we all stayed connected? How we communicated? How we LIVED? Perhaps some of the readers and writers on here aren’t even old enough to remember, which makes me feel prety damn ancient and obsolete .
There was a time, long ago, that people used phones, with push buttons, to call one another to make plans or chit chat. They would walk into their kitchen and pull an odd looking item off a cradle, and look in a book to find a number. Most of us had a memory to remember our friend’s and favorite business’s phone numbers. It was a strange and wonderful world back then.
I remember, in junior high school, we had to read a book called 1984, by George Orwell. When I read this book, it was probably around 1983, and that book gave me nightmares. It was so oddly futuristic and creepy. Not long after that, in 1984, Apple (Macintosh then) aired an even creepier commercial, based on the book, revealing that our future was going to change DRASTICALLY. And it has.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”-George Orwell -1984
The premise of his book, that resonates, is “Big Brother is Watching You”
Hard to believe this book was published in 1949! How could this man see our future so clearly!
Fast forward to today and now:
Yes, we are always being watched now, whether it be by our supervisors at work, friends, colleagues, parents, aunts, uncles, the neighbor you used to have when you were 7, and quite possibly by marketing geniuses who can now hack into our lives through some robot named Alexa or by the Google machine. Creepy right?
We have security cameras to see who is in our yard, that dowload videos to some “cloud” somewhere (what even is this?). Every store has a full array of surveillance set up, and even in our homes, we have cameras that watch unsuspecting Nannies or cleaning ladies, and us.
When did the world become so sinister and untrusting? Why do we have to focus so much on what everyone is doing around us, yet we cannot take a moment to dial a phone and see if our friends want to just have a coffee? We don’t chit-chat anymore, or call our moms and family members “just to hear their voices”.
The world of social media has turned us all against each other in so many ways. We spend hours comparing ourselves to the seemingly perfect lives of others. We scroll, and creep and Tweet and post, and text. Yet, have a verbal conversation? Nooooo!!! That gives us all ANXIETY!
I find it so ironic, that one of the most profound quotes about Social Media, from Bill Murray was posted on SOCIAL MEDIA!
That is our world now.
We spend all of our time comparing, wishing, dreaming, and wanting to do what everyone else is doing. We don’t spend enough time worrying about OUR lives. It’s so much easier to look at other’s and compare, making us all mental.
We watch our friends post vague statuses about having a rough day, in hopes that someone will respond with questions. We see people posting racial or controversial posts that they KNOW will piss someone off, in hopes for a reaction. No one calls their besties anymore to vent. It’s plastered on their “WALLS” for everyone to see. There is no longer a private world, even if you use a “private chat screen”. We have all become PUPPETS of creators like Zuckerberg. It makes me sad and terrified for the human race.
What started my tirade about how Social Media makes people act, and react, is the rash of celebrity suicides that we have had. Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and last year was the year of musicians. It actually made me hurt, to see people posting their standard RIP posts as fast as they could, to be THE FIRST ONE to share the horrible news. WHY!?!?
The day that Elvis Presley passed away, Kirk Cobaine, and even when Princess Diana was killed, it wasn’t a race to see who could spread it around faster. I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing when I heard the horrible news. It was heart breaking and devastating, with REAL emotion. Sure, it was all over TV the next day, but it wasn’t plastered on everyone’s newsfeed with rude comments attached or heatless comments. People gathered together in front of TV screens with tissues and real sadness, and reporters told the stories. You didn’t hear it from a friend of a friend who shared it with your neighbor from when you were 7. It seems as though once it is posted on Social Media, it becomes gone. It goes into the past overnight, because NOW a viral cat video has erased the emotions of loss and sorrow.
It seems as though our brains have morphed into machines on their own, just like Orwell wrote about. We take in information, spread it around as we process, and move onto the next big ticket news item. We are like computers ourselves, and it is honestly terrifying to think about.
What will our children’s children be like? How will they evolve into a world where they are being monitored 24/7, and will not know how to communicate because they have devices to do that for them? There is already such an epidemic of children with speech delays and developmental issues, because they are being raised by parents who communicate through texts and Social Media. I see it every day in my “other job” and it’s actually astounding how little children know about social interaction and using actual words to communicate.
If we could go back to basics, without all of the “All Knowing” eyes watching us, would we be able to survive normally in this world? It has come to the point where work can be done through technology, communication is seemingly ONLY done through gadgets and devices, and it is becoming more and more difficult to function without our brains re-wired to live in this new world. It looks like a grim future to me, and I do worry what the next 3 sets of generations will endure. We are all full of anxiety and depression now, what will the next generations be like?
I would give ANYTHING to go back to the simpler days of 1984