Friday, May 09, 2014

Look Out...Here's My Response to "Look Up"

Facebook. Remember life without it? Yea, me either and that’s the scary part.

After watching this video earlier this week (almost 33m views now), I honestly was totally convicted and awakened to the reality of the situation; a situation that belongs to you and to me - all of us.

Social media has taken over our lives. Period. End of story. Look around you. I mean, really? This is how it’s all supposed to be? Tweets? For real? Get a life…(oh wait…that mirror I am holding is pointing right back at me and I’m sure my tweeting niece will be glad to call me out on that one…she’s one of my few followers). Some I know have built an entire persona and “life” online with thousands of followers.  Talk about empty. Yet it makes them feel good so I get it...after all I tweet too.

I remember when we traveled to South Korea back in 2008 and riding in the subway. Not one person talked yet everyone was on their phone. I could have been standing there in my Yeti costume (now how many hits would that video get? and yes I do have one) and not one person would have likely even noticed. The silence made the UT library sound like a rave (do they still have those??). 

Our world has gone silent and the irony of it is that it’s all because of our phones. Yea, those things. You, know...the ones we used to use by manually dialing a number that we had memorized (can you imagine?) in order to actually speak directly to, in real time, our close friend. Back then, yea, pre February 4, 2004, the only way to catch up with someone was to actually talk to them or see them face-to-face. Now we don’t even bother using FaceTime to chat on our phones much less call or stop by. Heck, we don’t even spend the three minutes it takes to email anymore. Texting is even becoming rarer as Facebook posts and tweets rule the day.

You can ask my wife. During the NFL season my phone blows up. Not with calls mind you, but with texts, tweets and posts about the game. Really? Yea, that’s way more fun than sitting in a sports bar all together screaming at the TV while nachos fly off our plates. Seriously…stop the madness.  

Facebook. It’s our great, late addiction. One hit and you’re zapped like Josh Hamilton pre IamSecond and like him only Jesus can get you unhooked. Our dependent use of it has happened in just a matter of 10 years and it has taken some deep, long-time, great friendships and made them shallow, infrequent and solely based on apps and technology. Almost pointless if you ask me. If you don’t think so, you’re fooling yourself and will quickly prove me right when you post a comment on this to disagree. Without the drug you wouldn’t even be reading this. Yea, I caught you, looking down right now as you read this didn’t I? Truth hurts, huh? I’ll still give you a warm Olaf like hug though. Just let me go here and give you one real quick... 

Don’t tell me you’re too busy either. I don’t recall the world operating in slow motion before the techno-twins of Facebook and Twitter were shot putted into our world. That’s just an excuse and frankly Facebook gives it to you, just as it has me. Why call when you can skim the latest newsfeed and catch up sitting in your undies? “I don’t need to see or hang out with ____ . I just read their update earlier today. We’re good. Closer than a brother from another mother.”

Truth is for me I am caught in a dilemma. I like Facebook for the most part. I do. I have re-acquainted with old (in my case, I do mean OLD), friends and people from years past and if not for Facebook I might not even know those people still existed. It’s cool to see someone I haven’t physically seen in 10-20 years and watch their lives from afar, keeping up with goings on in nearly all 50 states and various countries around the world.

The opposite truth has a sad reality to it however and that’s what’s been bugging me since I saw that video earlier this week and it’s why I have been oddly silent.  See there are true friends (people I have actually shared some deep aspect of life with in recent times) that I now rarely hear from or actually see. Some just a few miles away but all just 10 digits away. I have some close friends who haven’t hugged or tussled the hair of my kids in long time, years even. Heck I have a few that I have known for decades that haven’t even met my son yet. Yea, the one that’s about to be 7. I could have arranged for that but no need when my Facebook post makes it as if they were right there with me, right?

Too many of our relationships exist for the most part between two screens; theirs and mine. Yea, screens on smart phones. Phones we never use anymore to actually call and say “hey, what you doing right now? Want some coffee? Can we talk? You guys wanna come over? Wanna hit Waffle House  before Fallon?” Smart phones being used by dumb people. Frankly, I wonder if some of my friends would react with caution of a new Amway presentation if I actually called and said any of these things to them. Sadly, just as I have many times myself, they’d probably text me, tweet me or message me “can’t right now but let’s touch base later”. Yea, well…

I almost wished I could relegate Facebook to just news, events and people I just wanna to stay current with, leaving the others to the way it used to be. Sure I like to see the photos of the kids, trips and such, but look at what we have exchange all of that for?Not to mention what we are teaching our kids and the next generation. Holy cow...can you even imagine 20 years from now?

But I can’t say any of this without saying first this: I’m sorry. You know who I am talking to and if you’re in that group and I haven’t called, dropped by, or done my part…my bad. Yea, I suck. I’ve let the Facebook  juju take me down with the rest of society.

In the end it’s about balance people…but apparently we haven’t downloaded Balanced yet, a smart phone app designed to help us with that. Idiocracy is alive and well, isn’t it?

(By the way….Yea, I still blog. Remember those from way back in 2004?)

I’m not even sure the narrow road of fraternal intimacy exists at all anymore but I’m gonna try and find it and if you want to come with me…come on. Sure, we will post about it. Why not? But we will be sharing the juju together when we do and that’s what matters.

Look for my call peeps. I hope you will return it. If not, just don’t comment when I post about you failing to. You’re an addict remember?

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

(c) 2014 J. Brady Speers

I Say It How I See It and I Make No Bones About It

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