Plugged in

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

As a social media publicist working in the literary field, I am plugged in to the internet at all times. That is my job. Not only do I have to be aware of all of the latest social media trends, I have to know how to use them … and use them well. I have to teach my clients how to utilize these social media sites and the future of my career field depends on how effectively I can demonstrate their value. My publicity team and I have to stay one step ahead of the game because if we fall behind, we could lose business.

And it’s exhausting.

Being “plugged in” for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is mentally draining, there's no doubt. I’m so used to being able to communicate in 140 character sentence fragments and hold a conversation with hundreds of people at the same time, I barely have the patience to make an old fashioned phone call. If I can’t text it, I’ll tweet it. If I can’t tweet it, I’ll text it. If I can’t text or tweet it, I’ll begrudgingly boot up my ancient laptop and email it … but only if I can’t get a wifi signal on my iPod Touch. 

I don’t even know how much a stamp costs anymore.

I can’t sit in a movie theater without seeing a dozen backlit cell phones flickering on and off during the feature.

I can’t go out to a restaurant without having to witness fingers constantly scrolling across touch-screen smart phones in favor of having to actually converse with another person.

I can’t wait for a response from you for more than 5 minutes before I start to think you’re just being rude and ignoring me.

I can't hear about a friend’s new relationship status until it’s made “Facebook official”.

But I can see what a high school acquaintance has been up to without ever having to actually speak to that person.

I can let the masses know what I ate for dinner and what my plans are for the night without making a single phone call. 

I can spread hate speech all over the internet with snarky, mean comments under the guise of “anonymous”.

I can generate a whole slew of new friends in faraway places by tossing a “#” in front of some strategic buzzwords in all of my tweets.

I can email information to my co-workers faster than it takes to get up and walk the entire 10 to get to their desks.

I can create the illusion of a glamorous, exciting life in an effort to impress a bunch of people I’ve never met online.

For all of the unbelievable progress we’ve made with technology, I can’t help but feel discouraged and smothered by the tidal wave of advancements. With all of these new gadgets, websites and apps that were created to make our lives “faster” and “easier” comes the unshakable feeling that something very precious has been lost in our society. We’re connected now more than ever, and yet it feels empty and contrived. 

You can’t make it through a whole movie without checking your text messages? Really?

You can’t leave your cell phone in your purse for the duration of a date? Call me old fashioned (Goodness, I haven’t dated since I was 16 and cell phones were just becoming “a thing”), but isn’t that rude?

You accidentally left your phone at home? Is it really the earth-shattering catastrophe you're making it out to be?

Social media and technology is really fun to tinker with and it CLEARLY has a place in our society. I mean, the fact that I have a job in social media alone can attest to that, but I seriously cannot believe how many people walk around (or drive cars) with their cell phones and iPads glued to their faces. It’s worrisome. 

When I get home from work, there’s nothing I like more than curling up on the couch with my husband and talking to him, face to face, about our respective days. In fact, I’m notorious for leaving my cell phone in my purse and forgetting about it until bedtime when I need to set an alarm for the next morning. And, if I do let myself get sucked into blogging or checking my email at night, Clay will remind me that I was on Twitter and Facebook all day at work and it’s time to give it a rest because evenings at home are is his time with me, not my Twitter followers. When you’re in the groove of networking all day, it can be really difficult to “unplug” and “power down” but if I want to keep my sanity, it’s necessary.

While I could go on and on about this subject, I think I’ll let poet Marshall "Soulful" Jones take the reins on the impact of technology on our lives.

(Be warned: This poem is pretty powerful. I’ve been watching this video on repeat for the past several days and every time I do, I become enveloped with goose bumps and the intense desire to go back to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and camp under stars with nary a satellite tower within a 100-mile radius.)

You Might Also Like

5 comments

  1. THIS IS AWESOME. I talk to one of my friends about this all the time....how sometimes we just wish it was the turn of the century (meaning, of course, the 1900s), when life seemed so much simpler and slower, and we didn't have to worry about all of these things.

    Life goes by so quickly on its own, and we've made it fly by at alarming rates by being "connected" to anyone, anything, and everything all the time. I sometimes go days without sending text messages to my friends, and they all worry something happened to me. Ten years ago, they wouldn't think anything of it, since texting wasn't really what we did...yet.

    This is why when I come home, I immediately do something creative -- I need to MAKE something. I spend 10 hours every day in front of a computer, so the last thing I want to do, is continue that trend when I cross the threshold of my house. I need to shut off that part of my brain, unwind, only to gear up to do the same thing the next day.

    Great post, Courtney. I love it, and the video brings it all home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jacki!

      Do you remember when we were kids and if we wanted to invite our friend over to play we'd have to call their house phone? And if they didn't answer, you just didn't have a play date. You waited until the next day at school to see them. You didn't get online to see if they were on Facebook, check their Twitter updates, or text them incessantly until you reached them. And you certainly did leave them 5 different voice mails wondering where they were.

      Yup, I agree with you completely! Our homes should be our safe haven, our hideaway from the grind of daily life. I sit in front of a computer all day, the last thing I want to do after work is look at ANOTHER computer screen. That's why I love running outside when I get home from the office. It's so freeing and the quiet time to myself is SOOOOOOO therapeutic!

      Delete
    2. Oh my gosh yes!!! Or how about playing outside to begin with?!?! We used to knock on doors, for heaven's sake, and that was because we weren't inside long enough to even pick up said house phone!

      I totally agree about running -- it's my escape from the computer screen, too!

      Delete
  2. Absolutely beautiful post. I agree that the video caps the entire post.

    ReplyDelete

Navigation-Menus (Do Not Edit Here!)