Computer Degenerated

Roger Porter

May 29, 2011

A little while ago I was on some lame date with some very lame woman and while she’s telling me some off the wall foolishness about her ex-girlfriend I began thinking to myself; “Wow, I would much rather be at home blogging right now.” Then all of a sudden I started getting all of these great ideas about things that I want to write about so quite naturally I took my phone out and began texting these thoughts to myself because the last thing I wanted was to forget them while listening to Ms. Wackness purge.


Yeah I know that’s probably kind of rude on my part but that’s beside the point. The point is that at that moment, for the first time in my life, I wanted to be at home in front of a computer screen instead of being outside in the real world. Granted I was trapped in an atrocious one-sided conversation but it still concerns me all the same.


Since then I’ve been thinking about social net-working websites and how you have complete control over who you interact with and who sees the comments that you make. On facebook in particular if someone is talking too much you can just hide them. We don’t think about it but our behavior on these sites has a tremendous impact on how we interact in real life. Moreover, I would have given anything to have had the ability to hide that lady once she started having flashbacks. All I could do was endure her however and I was so pissed that I could not control my surroundings.


Something strange is happening to me. I have also been developing extremely strong inclinations to buy an eReader when just one year ago I thought the very same notion was blasphemous. I love my library and I love the physicality of actually holding a book but eReaders are so convenient. As if being a book-worm wasn’t socially isolating enough once I buy an eReader I won’t even have to leave the house to go to a bookstore. Speaking of which, I wonder if the whole purpose of the information age is to get people to stay at home?


It’s really bizarre when you think about it. The way we duck for cover into our phones when we see someone approaching who we don’t want to talk to. The way we date online instead of actually approaching a person on the street. And the way we Skype people thousands of miles away when we travel as opposed to making new friends. I guess there’s no stopping all the changes from coming but I just wonder about the end result. How else are our interactions going to change?


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