Modern Times and the Selfie Generation

Sometimes I feel old – I am 26 but I already feel out of the loop. There are trends like duck-faces, planking, Harlem Shakes, twerking, Ice Buckets, and God only knows what else. I follow these trends not because I think they are cool but because they sparkle like wildfire – it will be everywhere for a day or two but also die down as fast as it started. Time is speeding up for the younger generation. Attention span is getting shorter and shorter, living in the moment and YOLOing  is more important than enjoying the anticipation and planning ahead. I stumbled upon this video and it made me stop for a second and reflect on the modern way of life and youngsters of the Selfie Generation.

Social media allows us to interact with people we can’t meet every day or every week but, on the other hand, there is the other side – interaction for the sake of interaction or popularity. Some people actually care how may “likes” and useless comments they will get for each post. It’s like a reward for being cool, like a bone to a stray dog – no matter what that is, they are happy to get some scraps of attention from anybody. There are numerous tutorials and books on social media marketing, which can be applied to a company or an individual. Society is stimulated to spend more time in social media than in real life settings. Because of this, people try to get as many “friends” as they can. Seen someone on the bus and found out their name, one simply has to add them to Facebook and start following them on Twitter. Some people are like social media whores (excuse my rough language), they are so desperate for attention, that they are ready to do anything to get some more, even for a temporary feeling of being noticed, being important. Unfortunately, this is just an illusion. Viral content spreads incredibly fast but it doesn’t stay in people’s memory. It gets discarded and “file’ is deleted from the brain. Social media can connect but it can create a specific type of isolation and loneliness. I definitely prefer to meet my friends in person and I try do clean my “friend” lists from people I will probably never see again. I am not blameless in taking part in this craziness, I spend way too much time in front of the computer screen. We live in the time of smart phones and dumb people. This burden is hard but it gets even harder when you see the teenagers and what they do to have fun. They are glued to their phones 24/7; they text each other non stop, sometimes even while being in the same room; they take tons of pictures, which becomes the sole purpose of having any experience; and they take selfies – all the time and in any situation.

I am a supporter of old time values like “Stop and smell the roses” – I will actually stop and smell them, instead of putting 50 pictures on Instragram with any available filter to make them look vintage. I am not angry or particularly upset about this, I am happy that my life has different values – meeting friends, having first-hand experiences (which I might take a picture of, if I feel I would like to see in 30 years), having meaningful conversations, actually caring about what’s new in my friends lives, having a range of emotions in the moment and not only afterwards, when the information has been already processed and poured out in the wide sea of the World Wide Web. I am happy that I had a childhood which involved a handful of toys; a lot of time running around the block and playing games with other kids, and no parents to hawk over us but who always had time to talk and got involved in our lives.  I am happy that my parents read to me when I was little and taught me to love reading. I am happy that I am a part of the generation having a thing called imagination. I am happy that I actually have some manual skills and ability to adapt to new situations. I could not have all these wonderful memories and experiences, if I had a smart-phone in my hands all the time. I am grateful for my life the way it is.

This is not a hateful message that calls all people to dump the technology and throw smart-phones off a cliff. This is merely a reflection and documentation of my observations. I didn’t mean to upset anybody or spread hate as many people do online these days. I wanted to draw attention to the possibility of putting one’s mind to the surroundings and forgetting about being connected all the time. At least try to fully unplug once. What difference did it make? Did it bring new experience, new sensation, new perspective? Was it worth it?

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