I am reaching that point in my life where I am beginning to wonder when did this happen to me. Let me clarify, when I mean ‘this’ I am referring to getting old. Yes, I remember when VCRs came into existence and I was able to program one when I was six years-old. Does that classify me as old? I use to play “Space Battle” on the Intellivision gaming console. Does that make me old? No. I will tell you why.
In this day in age when all you need to do is Wikipedia information on your phone or tablet, I use to have to go to the library to research any information about a specific topic. More often than not, I would scan the magazine section at a local book store to see any articles pertaining to my fields of interest. A certain actor on television seemed familiar to you, we couldn’t just jump on IMDB to see what else that person has been in.
Many of the things I just mentioned are considered outdated. Going to the book store has given way to buying books through your Nook or Kindle and going to the library has given was to Google, Bing or Wikipedia to search for any information on a topic for your school paper. We never heard about “bad press” about a television show until the damn thing actually premiered on television. Even then, we had to wait for it to appear on Entertainment Tonight.
In the mid-nineties, people began to wonder if a television show focusing on six people living in a loft in New York would be interesting enough to watch. Now, not only do we have reality television but we have our own reality television pervading our everyday lives through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and anyone’s blogs. The barriers between private and social lives are blurring and one begins to wonder just how much of my life is out there for any stranger to see.
Between posting my latest achievements on my PlayStation 4, where I am having lunch on Instagram, what I just read shared on Facebook to what I thought about what someone posting a GIF on Twitter; does everyone that “friends” or “follows” me know me better than I know myself? Does everyone know that I still collect comics, have a lava lamp, own two sonic screwdrivers and jump up and down in my chair when I watch the latest comic book movie trailer?
Not likely, but I think that many people have a perception of who they think I am. They judge me by the witty remarks or random quotes that I post on Facebook. The open-ended question that I throw out there in the Twitterverse or the random pictures that I choose to share on Instagram are only a fraction of the complexity that I am. Can a person be completely broken-down by their Facebook posts or their collection of “followers” on Snapchat?
With the expansion of “social media”, it has taken the “social” out of a real experience. When you become bored, you quickly jump on your phone to see if anyone else is as bored as you are. The only time we see people actually talk on the phone are in the movies, but you do manage to get that one guy that screams his conversation in an elevator or other enclosed space. However, we have become more content with living our lives through text messages than actually calling someone.
Some people may signify this as an old person’s “back in my day” rant, and it is and isn’t. I can see through their tweets, posts or check-ins that someone is a party person, as they upload pictures of their most recent excursion to some local watering hole, or that they link all the items they have recently read in hopes that someone else could learn something they may not have known. I would never say I had it better when I was younger. That is an over- romanticized version of what actually happened. I think about it and wonder has this access to random information from these “social media apps” really reflected who a person is or just what they do?
I don’t consider myself old. I am not a hater of technology, in fact, I am fan of it. I own a iPad, smartphone, laptop, PC, gaming consoles, Blu-ray players and various other modern devices. I haven’t own a VHS tape in several years, but I still have the memory of how much I use to hate them. Unlike the children of today that have never known what it was like to not have more than one, much less one, computer in a home, or a time when Twitter and Facebook wasn’t a thing. I am one of those people that can remember when and love it now.
I don’t consider myself old. I can remember a time before streaming movies or a smaller mobile phone. I remember when you were lucky if you had cable and could see MTV. I think that a person of my age is far better prepared for the future than anyone being born in the last ten years. Why? Because when all that technology goes down, I will be one of the few people that will be able to survive without it. When that zombie apocalypse happens, I won’t be considered old. I’ll be considered a survivor.