Gossip, Google & Globe

By Bryce Wilson Angry Birds was not the largest video game of its generation. We used to read the news from a newspaper. Gossip was retrieved feverishly from magazine covers and content. Movies were fetched from Blockbuster and watched on TV with the family. Social forums were personal, without digital boundaries, and less predictably staged than the ever-continuing “Facebook party.” Music was purchased at a store, and played on a stereo or just heard on the radio. Music played on MTV. My cellphone was hardly a smart phone nor was it nearly as equipped at streamlining my mental processes and habitual cycles. Smart water was unheard of, and Smart Cars belonged in Europe. I replace the chores of previous leisure with my computer chair and a Google Chrome browser. My elbow steadily kickstands my torso toward my monitor. She mirrors me on her own desk. The surface of all things I care to capture slide-shows across all eight tabs of my internet browser. This is how free time is spent, for now. In between walking the dog and eating, I realize that I could make the ever inevitable switch to a laptop and maintain this “in between school and work recharge period” from the comforts of my bed. This is not all a “Brave New World” dystopian slippery slope; after all, I did Google how to cure that migraine and never forget to wish all two hundred and eighteen of my friends, family, and acquaintances a happy birthday on Facebook. There is a surplus of information so I remain skeptical to all of it, but always can be counted on to take part in a conversation about just about anything. A capacity for being condescending climbs exponentially for those who have read a more recent article or mounted a more poignant social bandwagon. We post the wittiest comment on that YouTube video, and yet we’re too wise to admit publicly that we read those silly trivialities. The concept of a “meme” jumped from ancient Greece to the present. But if you don’t know what that four letter word means its already too late for you. We are digital natives and you may just be a digital immigrant. Don’t worry, digital immigrants are welcome. Your financial contributions to the technological arms race for user friendly eye candy will be taken by the smiling gentlemen standing adjacent to Apple’s new “IPAD 5 vending machine”. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Digital media technology spearheads change in today’s world. Once, medical, transportation, aerospace, and even military technology held the position of power, but now it is clear that entertainment is what we really want. Perhaps to distract us from the majority of the world that can’t seem to catch up. Perhaps to distract us from each other or ourselves. It is not scary and this is not a cry out about what we are becoming. More positive change has come from technological evolution than negative, but who is left to wonder if that positive change could have been in a different direction? Perhaps the intertwined nature of this new digital world will continue to manifest a global world view for new generations. Perhaps we will get bored of that portrait of plight as well and move on to whatever is new and trending. My puppy grows restless, begging for a walk; she doesn’t understand what I’m doing on a computer during my hours at home. Google tells me she doesn’t understand much of anything. And it seems without a search engine, I don’t understand much of anything either. Every dog has its day and search engines to will be transcended. Google’s research into the field of augmented reality has struck a sci-fi fantastic chord for consumers. The technology, called “Project Glass,” seeks to integrate a system with voice response initiated commands that would essentially add a digital dimension to our field of vision. Rumors of contact lenses able to accomplish the same virtual-reality-like capabilities, suggest that this type of technology is not going to reach a dead end any time soon. How are we expected to adapt to a world changing so quickly? I wonder for only a second before I am snapped back by the notification bing on my Facebook page. I update my Tumblr with a new Carpe-Diem-themed “favorite quote,” upload a picture of my puppy giving me a bewildered look, to InstaGram, just in time to realize the commercials are finished and my shows back on.

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