I don’t think the internet is helping me. Or more specifically, it’s not helpful when you already have a tendency of overthinking most things before you do them. I am much more likely to Google “strange elbow rash” then book an appointment with a GP. And I know I’m not the only one. We live in a world where information is literally at our fingertips and overthinking is not only encouraged, but celebrated.
I go on Twitter far too often, and I’ve even dedicated an entire blog post (as if that’s hard, right?) to social media as a poor imitation of actual human interaction. But this isn’t just about how our online culture has begun to replace our ability to feel normal in the presence of another human being, where we don’t have a ‘LIKE’ or ‘Retweet’ button when they say something funny.
This is about how we process the constant reams of information we are pelted with on a daily and hourly basis; from TVs to computers to phones to podcasts. Even if you never read the physical paper or own a TV, you’ll be exposed to advertisements on the latest health fads, news of the latest terrorist attack, and your next summer read, just by walking down the street, standing at a bus stop, or even trying to relax in a coffee shop.
Even if you work with your hands making things, and you don’t care for the latest advances in technology, you’ll still need to have an email address so that people can get in touch with you, or buy the things you’re making. At this point, being online and having a presence is no longer a choice, and you can’t escape the news about who died that day, or which political campaign has been revealed as absolutely scandalous. Even if you didn’t want it, here’s the information anyway!
It’s exhausting keeping up with everything, and yet strangely addictive. I find myself checking my phone every 90 seconds, as if I am awaiting an extremely important call that could mean life or death, rather than that little burst of excitement I get when I see that I have a new notification on Twitter (although in my defence I don’t have a lot of followers so this really is a big deal…).
I’m fairly certain that being constantly plugged in will mean the end for my ability to sit quietly without interruption, writing to my heart’s content. That I will forever need the tapping sound of fingers on keyboards, or the gentle hum of the newest album on Spotify in the background, or the ‘ping’ of a new Whatsapp message.
And I hate the idea of becoming that person, because most of the time, I feel an intense hatred towards the whole thing. I hate the idea that people now have 7 different ways to reach me and nothing is left up to chance. I hate that everyone has an opinion about everything that they feel they should share publicly, for unsuspecting eyes to stumble upon on Twitter and Facebook. And I hate that I put so much stock into seeing a little envelope symbol appear at the top of my phone screen, as if expecting that one day there will be an email that changes my life completely.
I was already an overthinker so imagine what it’s like inside my head now with all this news and other people’s opinions in my ears? Sometimes I want to switch off and I know that I should, but then how would I share my thoughts about the latest Beyoncé album? I mean, how would any of us?
I could probably find out the answer if I Googled it.
Image credit: Technology by Creative Stall from the Noun Project