No. It’s not. Nor is this
Now of course I have my own reasoning. You see, I don’t think pulling out your smart phone during a conversation with friends or a chow at the local papa Johns or walking home from school is a sign of the impending doom of all mankind. I don’t think these pictures have anything to do with predicting the future of humanity, that we shall become “slaves of the machine” or “constantly wired”. To me, facebooking, google + ing (is that even a word?), texting or whatever form of digital socializing is not a problem. What I see as a bigger, more alarming fact is that people often do not understand the technology that they are using. They don’t “care” what services they are signing up for or how many pictures they post online as they think it doesn’t affect them on a day to day basis. Everyone wants the next iPad with the HD retina display but few care to know what a retina display even is or how it works! With the huge boom of great tech products in today’s market, you would think a majority of young people would be excited about pursuing careers in technology and computing (fields we desperately need). NOPE!
We’ve essentially created the digital culture. Take a look at the second picture. Half a century ago, would that scene have been much different? Would we see teenagers laughing and engaging and holding hands and kissing and frolicking as they walk home? Not really! If we were to take a picture of that same side walk 50 years ago, we would see a group of young people well …. walking home. The point is, we’ve used technology to stimulate every non-stimulating moment of our lives. Every awkward silence at the restaurant is replaced by pulling up your Facebook time line, every dull moment supplemented with browsing the Internet.
Is pulling up your Facebook time line and browsing the internet or texting your mom a problem? Of course not. Then what is? Well, it’s our constant love affair with entertainment. In the heavily commercialized society we live in today, we are constantly seeking to be entertained in every second. We also want to feel significant in everything that we do. That is why you will open a new tab as you read this to check how many likes your last Facebook status got. While all the things I have mentioned above fosters the growth of a bolstering digital community, I have yet to see how any of these things effect real life communities. College kids still hit the pub on Fridays and friends still hang out. The culture and the environment of America has always been thrill seeking (after the jazz age anyway), has always been high-risk, has always been stimulating and entertaining. Smart phones, social media, texting and technology is general is just another chapter in the crazed social culture of the United States. I mean, you won’t find my cousin living in Nasirabad, Bangladesh – a humid, filthy and choking city – on his smart phone while grabbing a pizza with the boys. Rather, you’d see him on the rooftop of his apartment playing Cricket with his friends. And to bring it even closer to home, I don’t even have a smart phone, nor does a significant population of the United States. Not everybody is “Wired in”. Shifts in American social culture does not predict the impending doom of mankind.