The internet, for all it’s wondrous ability to help us communicate with anyone anywhere, for its ability to bring the world together to make it a village, for all the information available at our fingertips, it’s also a big time suck.
Blame it on Apple.
Why not? It’s in our human nature to blame others for our mistakes, and Apple is an easy target, what with all those tens of billions locked up in banks scattered all over the world. Apple is an easy target for patent trolls, so why not put the blame on Apple for the human condition that causes us the most grief.
There’s not enough time in the day to do what we should be doing because we’re wasting our time on our technology devices which are connected to the internet.
The internet has become a big time suck, and we have ourselves to blame. Not Apple (even though Apple is culpable and a much more public target).
I know what you’re thinking. “How is that possible, Kate?”
Hey, Donald Trump is running for president and doing what no one said he would do a year ago, so there’s that.
I’ve been traveling for a few weeks and my job takes me to the U.K. a few times a year. While in London I read details from a few surveys that tell us what we already know here in the U.S. We’re using social media for a growing chunk of our day. We’re using YouTube to replace television. We’re using social media to get our daily dose of news instead of reputable news outlets.
None of this trend is good for us.
Worse, employees who have internet access at work are using as much as an hour a day keeping up with social media. What’s that? It’s a long list of social networks and apps that added up result in a big time suck.
Think of it this way. We need salt. We use salt to preserve foods and to season foods and enhance the taste. Few single dishes have so much salt as to cause us health problems, but collectively, extra salt in everything we eat cause massive health issues. Ipso facto, salt bad.
Likewise, we need human interaction. We get such interaction in many ways, including social networks. Collectively, our use of text messaging, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, WhatsApp, Line, Skype, Messenger, FaceTime, Reddit, Flickr, Vine, and various dating sites.
Why blame Apple?
Other than convenience, Apple is representative of our growing access to and usage of devices which can make us better humans, can give us opportunities to remain close with one another, but often do the exact opposite, thanks to too many hours devoted to so-called communication that doesn’t really communicate.
Internet comment and forum trolls, I’m looking at you.
Our iPhones– thanks to instant access to multiple sources of communication, all based upon access to the internet, help to bring us apart again. Ali Roff asked the question: “Does Social Media Bring Us Together Or Push Us Apart?” There is evidence for both, yes, but I fear the latter. Roff gives an example of a grandfather and a grandchild brought together by Skype.
But what’s interesting, and it’s hard to tell because the child is so small, is whether the child has an affection for the digital interface as the person themselves or as a representation of the person. At the same time, the idea that Skype actually makes people lonelier is a very common feeling, in that there is almost a cruelty in this ability to talk to someone, but not actually be able to reach out and touch them.
I think the most interesting idea is that when we meet face-to-face, there is another person there who is different from us. We understand that there’s another human being to negotiate with and relate to, and there’s never that expectation that we’d know someone fully or be constantly available to someone else. Yet with social media, the idea being sold to us is that we are all ‘in it together’. There is this strange confusion whereby we feel we should be feeling close to people, but social media collapses all distinctions between ‘each other’. We can communicate in this way, and yet we know we are not really totally satisfied.
The internet can bring us together but has not. Humanity is more divided than ever, and social media– whether used personally or within a work environment– is mostly a big time suck.
* Yes, I ordered an iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black.