Never forget that none of this is real.
None of the pictures, none of the comments, none of the likes.
They’re all pixels on a computer, or on a phone, which is like a mini computer.
Anxiously checking your phone when you’re out with people because you haven’t checked Facebook in a while. Saying you’re going to delete Facebook because you don’t like what it does to your brain – even though you can’t say exactly what it is that it’s doing to your brain.
But none of this is real.
Bill Murray went without a phone for six weeks, I read recently. He said it was refreshing. He said people were always accommodating to him, and if he needed to make a call, he always asked to borrow a phone, and everyone was always gracious enough to let him.
“Well, I’m not Bill Murray,” you might say. “What if my family needs me?”
“Where is your family?” I would ask. “They’re probably in your house with you, if I had to guess. Are you talking about your elderly parents, who don’t text and don’t Facebook? Or if you’re at work, I bet work has a landline, doesn’t it?”
How DID people get by before their little computers?
It can be a passive-aggressive way of pretending that the people you’re with aren’t interesting enough. It can be a place to hide if you aren’t sure what to say.
It can be validating. It can be empowering. It can make you feel connected.
But it can also be a distraction from your life. A distraction from the pain, boredom, uncomfortable moments we have to face.
Jack White doesn’t let his kids play with anything electronic, I heard him say on one of the late-night talk shows. Their toys have to be solid, real things, like puzzles and Lincoln Logs. I am sure they suck at Mario Kart, but hey, when a supergenius is raising you, I guess those are the breaks.
It is nice to know what your friends from college are doing. If not for Facebook, I wouldn’t know when someone got engaged or divorced, or what have you. Unless and until I got that Save the Date! in the mail, of course. Yes, the U.S. Postal Service still services most of the country, at my last count.
And yes, I realize the irony of posting this on the Internet, where you are no doubt reading it on your tiny computer in your hand, or over coffee at work. Maybe, just maybe, you should turn your phone off and throw yourself into something. Anything – cooking, hiking, running, backgammon, learning Mandarin. Anything at all that isn’t validated by the rest of the world’s perception. Because that will never fill you up, no matter how many likes you get.
Turn your phone off and throw yourself into something. Anything – cooking, hiking, running, backgammon, learning Mandarin. Anything at all that isn’t validated by the rest of the world’s perception. Because that will never fill you up, no matter how many likes you get.