What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Before even deciding to wake up I grab my phone and shift through new BBMs, e-mails, and Facebook notifications. Once I succeed, I walk over to my computer and answer my e-mails. Some studies have suggested that this generation, the iGeneration, is one of the hardest working generations since we are constantly available to connect and respond. Our limbs have extended themselves with smartphones and tablets, while our ears have grown cuffs with ear buds and earphones, sooner or later our eyes will be shielded by glasses that determine an idealized virtual reality.
Let’s admit it, we rely on technology to connect. Yahoo and Hotmail are adults, who’ve grown too old to be first-generation adapters. Google is that geeky friend who is no longer considered a geek because he knows information other than sciences. Facebook is the popular girl who introduces her friends to her new friends, over-likes everything she sees, as well as posts funny and regretful photos, without forgetting to leave a backstabbing comment in public. While, Twitter is a community of chatterboxes who assumes that everyone wants to know her activities by the hour. They are labels, but just as or more often as we communicate with our friends, we access these sites every day, even multiple times in a single day.
Technology has made life much easier. Today, academic and professional assignments are submitted through the net; plane, concert and even parking tickets could be redeemed online; music and movies are either streamed or downloaded from the net; and your life stories are available for the entire virtual population to access. But, at what cost? Ironically the more we connect, the more disconnected we become with the people around us. Yes, living on the other side of the world has become much easier with Skype. But at dinnertime at home, instead of eating and sharing stories, everyone is staring at their phones. Moreover, the stages of a romantic relationship have been altered, instead of exchanging rich hand-written letters, we send a quick sentence to the guy across the room. My friends have often given up on a potential girl/guy just because he/she only read and did not respond to the text immediately.
Ultimately, technology, whether it is your smart phone, the Internet, your laptop, or iPad, consumes our lives, both positively and negatively. It has reinvented our lifestyles and perception of the world. To me, new universal layers have emerged with sites such as Facebook and twitter. My father often asks me what it is I am doing, especially when I have my phone in one hand, the TV on in front of me, my laptop beside me for hours and not completing one single assignment. Technology is a gift and a curse, much like superpowers. Now it’s up to you to enable it for good or evil.
*Originally written for Speak! Magazine, Indonesia