Everywhere we go, everywhere we look, we see technology and the influences of it. We are constantly over indulging in the endless possibilities that technology and the internet provides. This medium which we call social networking is inescapable so much so that everywhere you go smart phones, laptops, ebooks, and other types of digital devices are taking over ever facete of life. As we continue through this technological age, the line between social and anti-social is growing ever finer. This inundation of the digital world has resulted in a loss of the capacity for self-identity and self-awareness. Why catch up with friends at your local cafe when you can talk to them on Facebook chat or Instagram what you each had for breakfast. We have become blinded by the digital to the point where we find ourselves hiding behind screens. The implied meaning of the ‘social’ in social networking has ultimately been contradicted, as it has created an antisocial generation, absorbed with the content of the screen and oblivious to the reality of the world around them. Social etiquette has gone out the window as the mobile is glued to the hand and eyes to the laptop- awaiting the next bid on eBay? We cannot suppress the urge to respond to the constant vibration on the desk. Is it a Facebook comment? A text? A news update? As I travel around Melbourne on the trains and trams I’m surrounded by smart phones and while sitting in university lectures I see a sea of laptops, their screens showing everything but the lecture content. Technology, without doubt, creates an escape for people. Many people, who want to escape the reality of their daily lives of family and work, can adopt a new character behind digital mediums. The comfort of the anonymous nature to social networking and blogging in particular, is even more appealing to the 21st century writer as identity can be disguised and criticism restricted to the Internet. The freedom of remaining anonymous allows users to take pleasure in whatever they choose without judgement. Technology provides a place to avoid the inevitable reality even if it is only just for a few hours.
I think I am a bit of a sceptic when it comes to the evolution of technology. I think it’s because I’m scared that we will lose our sense of reality. A recent train ride into the Melbourne CBD saw me analysing the twenty passengers on board around me. To my pleasant surprise two people were reading books and two were flicking through the newspaper. More than 50% of people on my train had earphones in and 25% of those people were typing on their phones, changing the song?, texting?, emailing?, or checking Facebook? All these activities share a common link, to remain current, discovering new information, new music, new gossip, even new literature. An example of this is the hype created around the new book series Fifty Shades of Grey. Many are purely intrigued and feel they have to read it just to be current. Maybe we are in fear of missing something important? This is more commonly recognised by the acronym FOMO or fear of missing out. Perhaps it’s not that we have become obsessed with technology or even social media but in face it is our constant urge to stay updated that leads us to rely on the digital age.