Ain’t life Insta-Tweet?
Shuttling between friends’ walls and RSVPing events held in all corners of the world that you’re not remotely likely to attend and yet wonder why you keep getting invites for, you are off on your merry way to the Land of the Digitally Connected.
As you two-time – forget it, ‘five-time – your friends on Whatsapps chat or Messenger, you check out another tab and see you’ve got 117 new tweets. There is of course the obligatory half-hour Insta scroll to allow you plenty of opportunities for life envy and FOMO.
Aside from reading like a script from Tinseltown with cleverly plugged product placement, does this sound like a slice of your daily routine? Are you the protagonist of the above scenario, oft drifting from one digital platform to another? Or checking e-mails on your Smartphone at two in the morning? And worse, responding in less than five minutes? Perhaps your vice is not your email, but the fact that you broadcast every mundane detail of your daily life in snappy Snaps or instantaneous stories? Who doesn’t have that one friend who has to do a live broadcast of every single moment whether it be cocktails with friends at the latest must-be-seen-at venue around town or breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning live from their bed? Those people you fear will soon be live broadcasting more salacious goings-on of their bedroom. Incidentally the same people you’re tempted to banish to the seventh ring of cyber hell.
Perhaps you are more of the gossip girl hooked on tweets from Linda Ikeji 24/7 or celeb stan who’s constantly keeping an eye on their favourite celeb’s Insta stories. Or the culture vulture who’s scrolling with vigour through the pages of news apps on your phone, your CNN News alert pinging throughout the day?
Do you feel like you are missing out on life if you are away from your phone for any longer than 15 minutes?
24/7 seems to be the keyword to our existence as 21st century citizens. While it may have been perfectly okay to be a technophone a decade ago and get away with it, technological advances today make it impossible to shun all that we couldn’t have dreamed of just last decade. Heck, I missed what could have been my first date with my now husband, because my early twenties were lived before the age of smartphones and wifi which meant without a personal laptop or internet connection at home, it took a whole weekend before I came back to the office on a Monday to pick up his email which had dropped in my inbox on Saturday. By today’s standards, absolutely unimaginable, right?
Just imagine the amount of courtships which fell through the cracks because of that tardy response before they even got to blossom into a relationship… Today, however, we deal with all facets of our lives online, at the touch of a button. We swipe right or left, we scroll down our feeds, we snap our mundane existence. Our office cooler gist is now Twitter, we do business deals over Whatsapp and shop over Instagram, collaborate over Slack or Dropbox. Even traffic updates are pinged to your phone in real time.
How many of you have received instant messages along the lines of “standstill traffic on Eko Bridge” or “armed robbery in Lekki Phase 1” in the last few months? Cast your mind back to the turn of the century, or even a few years after – before the advent of smartphones. With no device to broadcast a message and limited credit on your phone, how many people could you have alerted at once? Things we would have deemed nigh impossible ten or 15 years ago are now achieved simply at the click of a button; or in the words of Microsoft, “You dream it, we deliver it.”
In a world that is becoming more and more virtually connected and constantly on alert, whether it be traffic updates or business deals, it is a given that if you snooze, you lose… While technology has opened doors which we didn’t even know existed at one time, the downside is that we literally cannot afford to snooze anymore. Think of the last time you could sit back and catch some shut-eye without thinking of the e-mail you needed to respond to. Or the last catnap you enjoyed on the backseat of a car without pings and beeps and ringtones – anything from “Oju Elegba” to “Baby got Back” is apparently acceptable – blaring from all sides? Or the last time you could read a book from cover to cover without picking up your phone at least 10 times every hour to check your notifications?
A few summers ago, with a dodgy connection in Turkey while on holiday, I remember breaking out in a sweat on the verge of a panic attack.
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