Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Our planet has about a gazillion inhabitants. It is almost impossible to not meet, see, hear or smell another person. Even if you are staying at home all day, you can hear them walking in their flat above you, in the hallway, on the sidewalk, you can hear them talk, laugh, scream. Furthermore, just turn on your TV or radio. There are plenty of people often pretending to be some other people. Just like, see one - see another one for free!

But since a couple of years there has been a new way of social interaction which you can not escape...the cyber space! Better known as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, asmallword etc. You have now the chance to interact with as many people at once as you want. Only one....maybe two, or if you prefer around 4.6 million.

Years ago, your small little opinion would have not bothered anyone...noone would have even known about you. Thesedays you can express whatever you feel and desire and everyone around the globe can like, dislike, agree, not agree, report abuse or comment...

Is this the pure version of democracy? Finally we all have our say and are not just a little voice but rather a big roar. Who wants to be a kitten if you can be the lion?!

I would rather call it democraZy...

Within seconds demonstrations are organised, flashmobs created, groups gathered and think-alikes found. There are all kinds of online revolutions going on - and thats one of the problems...they stay online!

With this new technology and possibility we have all won so much freedom that we do not even realize how much we are actually locked away! Everything became so convenient and easy that noone really does anything. Of course there are others who truly unterstood how to use the "new cyber society" as a tool to make a change and fight against the big ones, ie governments, cooperations etc, or for a change in environement, human rights etc, but most of us are simply as shallow and ignorant as before, if not even worse.

We loose the true connection to problems and every solution seems just a click away.

Click. No more world hunger. Click. Cure against aids. Click. Brangelina stay together.

The gift, that we have actually the chance to finally connect and do something together for the good, is the biggest burden we have. We became so overfed with potential ideas and functions that all we have achieved over the last years is that we became extremely lazy and spoiled. I dislike.

"Donate for Haiti!" - I like...."Stop Genocide" - I like..."Facebook against world hunger" - I like...
Do people not realise that simply hitting the "I like" button will actually not do anything? The only thing that they achieve by doing so is to feel better about themselves....especially because everybody else saw that you are against genocide or think that it is a good idea to donate for Haiti. However probably not even 2% of them who hit the "I like" button actually do anything!

Hey - but is sooooo convenient...and looks very good...
Is this maybe our new way to confess our sins?

"I drank all night, than drove home by car, ran over a cat and feel awful...I better go online and hit the "I like" button for some good cause, so I feel better and my sin will be paid off!"
Sounds tempting, I must admit. Is it that easy? All I need to find out is a cat...

I confess that I am an internet whore. I was addicted from the first second I got a connection in the early 90s. I am on facebook almost every day and am addicted to checking my mails as I once was to cigarettes. It took me a while to just realize how addictive online social networking can be. I am not a saint or better than most of the other internet users, but since a while I am starting to take a step back and look at it from a different approach. It is like stepping back into "real life" and watching other people communicate only via posts, threads, mails...etc. I must say it is frightening to see how much information some of us share with the entire globe. The internet never forgets - and someone is always watching.

There is one term that really hits my nerve everytime I see it on Facebook. "Friends". Right now I can say that I have the proud number of 377 friends on Facebook. Funny enough I have many more on asmallworld and much less on pages like decayenne etc...even though the same people are members of all these pages as well. Does that mean that we are only friends on one networking site and not on the other? Sounds rather stupid - but it is a good question since it makes one really think - who are all these people and are they my "friends"? Think about it, how many of these "friends" can you really call when you need someone to talk to? When you have a real problem and need help? Do you even have their phone number? You can add friends to your list just as easy as cucumbers to your basket while grocery shopping...

Many of you will now say "ah, c´mon Ivo, you know that they are not friends, are you that ignorant or naive?". Of course I am not. But think about it...why are you connected? Have you actually ever talked with each other? Have you ever met? Do you know anything about this person except the name, date of birth and high score on farmville? What is the reason that you are "friends"?

Is this really the new definition of friends?

I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this me, this sounds scary.
Do I really want only that few people between me and Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush or even Kathy Griffin?

These are just some thoughts of mine...feel free to express your opinion and thoughts about this topic. I will log off now and go back to "real life" just so that I can fall asleep and enter my dream.

As Andrew Brown once said: "Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life."