I realised recently that, while once upon a time, I could focus my undivided attention on a book or a film, or a TV programme, or a PERSON . . . I can no longer do that. My attention span has gone to shit. I seem to have to multi-task constantly. Have the internet on in the background while I watch "Flash Forward" (after all, how else do I tweet my amazement about what the latest little twist or jaw-dropping cliffhanger is?), check my Facebook notifications on my Blackberry while walking to the office, text my friends to arrange our next night out while engrossed in the latest Marian Keyes' novel. Even while sleeping I have the TV on half the time just so I can find out what's going on in the world.
Technology has spoiled me.
I LOVE the internet, don't get me wrong. I could actually sit and browse away all day long. I often do. With sites like stumbleupon, with so many blogs to read, so many shopping websites . . . there is so much to do. But at the same time, I have this fear that all this amazing technology is ruining me. Is spoiling ALL of us.
How often these days have I eschewed a night out in favour of sitting on Facebook and commenting on inane status updates? Sometimes I'll even sit and stare at it when nothing is happening, wondering where everyone else is. Surely they're not - GASP! - outside??? Enjoying REAL LIFE??? No, they couldn't be. Could they?
Getting a roll of film developed used to be such a big deal when we were younger, right? You didn't know how the heck the photographs were going to turn out - it was so exciting. Remember how damn amazing it was when Polaroids appeared on the market??? Pictures that appeared virtually straight away, AS IF BY MAGIC!!! Now, with the digital age, the gratification is even MORE instantaneous. You can see what the pictures are like virtually the second the flash goes off. The pictures of me (or you!) snogging someone really embarrassing, or falling out of a taxi with your knickers showing Britney-style can be on the internet in mere minutes for everyone to see, laugh and point at.
Internet stalking has made life sooo much easier. Never again do you have to casually walk past the love of your life's house twenty times a day to see if he's home. You can just work it out by hanging out on myspace long enough. As long as he's not one of those jerks that makes his profile private and BLOCKS you, that is.
I kinda miss good old fashioned normal stalking though.
Just a tad, mind.
How about texting? Oh it's great, especially for someone like me who is phone-phobic. Seriously. I am not one of those girly-girls who spends hours on the phone to my friends, I never have been. The thought brings me out in a cold sweat. Texting is one of the best things to ever happen to me. It means I can communicate with people without, you know, having to actually TALK to them. That being said, it appears to be ruining people's ability to spell, to be grammatically correct. All this text speak drives me mental, especially when it starts spilling into everyday life and you get emails from people who use the number "2" to save themselves having to differentiate between "too" and "to". Or "ur" so they don't have to remember whether the context they're using the word in requires it to have an apostrophe or not. Sometimes when I see text speak it is like the person has used hieroglyphics. It's not just a whole other language, it's a whole other alphabet!!!
Me and Cute Guy from the Party/Asshat/Swine Guy/Whatever I decide to call him next . . . on our one and only date we bonded over our mutual distaste of text speak. He said when I had text him the first thing he'd noticed was that my words were spelled correctly and that he'd been relieved about that. I admitted that I had clocked exactly the same thing in his texts and been equally relieved. (See? We'd have been perfect for each other. The Wankhead.)
Anyway . . .
On top of that, because we use "haha" and "lol" in texts and emails to denote finding something funny, I've found myself doing the same in real life. If someone makes a joke, instead of laughing, I say "lol". Sometimes I laugh too. Like when I remember that I CAN laugh because it's real life, not the virtual world. And people are maybe looking at me funny because I said "lol" completely straight-faced.
And one last peeve? I can't write for shit anymore. Gone are the days where I used to fill old exercise books with massive works of fiction using a Biro. After a couple of paragraphs now, my hand cramps up. I can't believe it's the same hand that used to sit and write for three hours during exams in school and uni. And write NEATLY at that. Now after about three lines my neat little cursive becomes an indistinguisable scrawl. That depresses me more than anything, and I couldn't even tell you why. It's like my hands have lost their power.
That being said, my fingers can type damn fast.
I love you, technology, don't get me wrong. I don't know where I'd be without the internet, text messaging, Facebook, all that stuff . . .
It's just sometimes I do kinda think wistfully of a simpler time.
Until I remember how much I love blogging.
I'd be up shit creek without technology for THAT . . .