Don't Lie. You didn't really LOL.
Living in a ski town in British Columbia Aaron takes notice to what makes him smile, sad, or think. Too young for the early years of computing class, and too old for a YouTube channel, he does what he can to make his mark. There are a few things that he both loves to do and considers himself good at - one of them is putting words on paper.
Disclaimer: I am not a golfer.
So when my friend, an avid golfer, showed me a picture of his latest purchase - a golf bag - all I could do was make the “hmm”s, “ahh”s, and “nice, man”s. All those normal polite noises you make that essentially mean “That’s nice”, but carry with them the underlying message: “I don’t know, or don’t care, about this thing we’re talking about”. (Writers are familiar with these noises, mostly from their older relatives when we answer the question “What are you doing for work these days?”)
When my friend picked up on my feigned attempt at interest - apparently I’m not that good at them - he mentioned something along the lines of “Man, I knew this would be weird”. I asked him what he meant, and he went on to explain. “I have this picture of something that I think is really cool, but it feels like I’m forcing it onto people. Like “Dude, check this out!” Just then, another friend interjected:
“You literally just described Instagram”.
We were both floored by this simple comparison, and it got me thinking, not only of how I wish I had made it first.
While the Internet and all of its little bastard minions sometimes seem to be an unstoppable force, that feeling my friend was searching for in my response - admiration, a high-five or maybe a little bit of jealousy - was the reason he showed it to me in the first place. The IRL version of likes and comments. But how many times do you think someone writes “LOL” without actually laughing out loud? It’s the tech version of polite noise.
It’s much more satisfying to show someone something face to face, to gauge their emotion; to hear their laugh. The “Share” button has gone from a convenience of showing your mother something she would like from across the world, to an arbitrary spilling of anything and everything to everyone, ultimately becoming a destructive force on relationships. We all have that one friend that you’re tired of seeing crop up on your feed - after a while, anything they post is just white noise.
Limiting your time online is like any addiction - the only way to quit cold turkey is to drop your laptop on the floor, your tablet in the street, and your phone in the toilet. While you wean yourself off with sunsets and coffee shops (don’t you DARE take a picture of that latte), write down something you like and search for it when you see a friend. It’s not like you won’t find it again, and isn’t it nice to say “I saw something really funny the other day, and it made me think of you.”?
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