Monday, June 3, 2013
You're never fully dressed without a smile.
That was the old adage, which I fully believe in.
Back in the day, encouraging people to walk around with a smile seemed a simple enough thing to do.
But I do think it's time for a new one, to address a serious issue.
I would begin the argument that you never fully have someone's attention while they're holding an iphone. You can even make it work in the song,
"Whooo caaaares what you're hearing
from facebook, texts and phone
it's what you heeear from eeear to ear
and not from app to app!"
Sometimes I wonder how many passwords I have stored in my head. Where there used to be ideas and birthdays, I now have letters and numbers that make sense to no one but me.
And then I wonder how did I get here? (no, not here on earth...here in the technology sense)
How is it that I am so totally tuned into an on-line world?
I have passwords and usernames and different passwords and different usernames for about ten billion different online connections. And while I am not alone, I am very much alone with these things. I'm calling them "connections" but then why do I feel less connected each time I sign up to connect to one more thing online?
It started with blogging. Which I faithfully did, daily, for about five years. It gave me great joy and total serenity to write my thoughts, to share ideas and to get it all down on not-quite-literal paper (many drafts of blog posts were first fleshed out on whatever piece of paper I had handy, from airplane vomit bag to matchbook, before they were electronically executed). Writing, to me, was like a physically-sedentary form of exercise. I always felt satiated once a piece was drafted, then edited, completed and then posted. Some days I wrote five posts at a time, carefully selecting them to appear throughout the week, just so I could make room for the next five stories in my head.
Then I was told by someone who enjoyed my writing that I might look into Twitter. What would I do with only 140 characters? I couldn't imagine, but I signed up anyway. If that's where the people were reading these days, I would go to them.
I joined Facebook purely through years of pressure, for my greeting card business and eventually for myself, and still feel that daily, visual posts are the only way to keep it interesting.
I keep a Flicker site current and curated.
I have a website for my business.
I have a Yelp profile for people and places that clearly, desperately call out for my personal opinion (called "reviews").
I have a number of email accounts: Some for work, some for personal, some just to sign in to online worlds with.
I opened an Etsy site, then closed it, and am in the process of starting another, totally re-invented.
I started two more blogs, photography mostly, but with an extreme amount of thought, time and layout design invested in them.
Then I got an Iphone, something I'd fought against for years (why did I need anything but my simple, yet working, flip phone?)... texting was already in full swing, and I've bought into it: hook, line and sinker.
Instagram sucked me in almost, well, instantly. First it was just a fun idea, a here and there thought, then it became an addiction that I checked into multiple times a day. It's a continuous love/hate relationship.
After I thought I was on top of all things necessary for my business, the self-employed person's brand, self-promotion, a friend told me that the only way to be truly out-there, involved, and communicating your message is Pinterest.
So, I logged on and started a page.
Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?
If not, trust me, I feel overwhelmed enough for both of us.
And I've found, when I bring this topic up, I am not alone. When I sit at a table with friends or family, and everyone brings out their phones and places them on the table like an extra fork, to shovel in whatever is missing in that moment, or a knife, to cut through the millisecond of silence that befalls even the most gregarious of us, I want to lament the state of interpersonal relationships in this year of 2013. But, I can't, because my phone starts to ring, or beep, or sound like a doorbell, or the tweet of a bird, or the breaking of glass, or it's making the sound of a train, telling me someone just had a thought, just liked something of mine, just took a photo of their drink, someone just validated someone else doing something out there in the world-wide-ether, and that, in this very moment, seems to take precedent over the simple act of smiling at the person sitting right across from them.