That pathetic, reactionary drivel surrounding Stephen Colbert last weekend is perfect timing with a great discussion with a tour partner about my strong dislike of Twitter...
I am trying to understand that it's a necessary evil for product and company promotion, but this article sums up so much of what I feel.
Every time I see a photo bombarded with hashtags, I intellectually puke. For the business operator, I get it. If you're running products or services, and a photo is tied to it, then I understand. You're tracking, promoting, and linking your stuff across multiple platforms (did I get that right?)
But for those who find it cute or necessary... do you honestly think you'll have time to go back through all of this "intellectual" property we're amassing, when the trend with technology is to tie us up more and more and more and more to the next fad, craze, app, or gadget? If current trends continue, we'll have live cable feeds streaming across one eye with voice recognition response messaging and updating, while we use the other to locate the pizza box.
Yeah, I'm ready to get out of the buzz-saw of corporate culture. You don't even realize how much the average American is bombarded with it until you step away and into a culture that still retains a bit more original identity, closes shops on Sundays for people to get outside and hike or ski or bbq with the family.
In a matter of milliseconds, on the clock of human existence, we've gone from telephones with no answering machines and a simple rotary dial to smart phones with a preponderance of ways to message and communicate (email - personal and work, Google Hangouts, Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Skype, messaging, voicemail, and Twitter to name the ones I can barely even keep up with).
The best thing I loved about being in Germany? I got to know myself again. I wasn't tethered to my phone, waiting on messages, reaching out to talk to someone the second I felt lonely, bored, or anxious... I PROCESSED THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS. I had time alone to do so, which is a rather vital ingredient in that needed human function.
Perhaps that is one of the greatest delights of international travel (for now... T-Mobile is now offering free international data and messaging). In the past two days, my mother and another former traveler on one of my tours shared with me their great fear of being left alone or getting lost in a foreign country...
To me, it is nirvana. It is wonderful to step away from the machine and go meet people on their level, feel all of the senses working once again, have the brain at full power, with an adrenaline rush that isn't tied to a questionable action, foolish dare, videogame, or the viewing of a sporting contest. Yet that's what we're settling for, and American towns are now known for three totem poles which serve the modern village: the gas pump, the fast food outlet, and the pharmacy.
It's sometimes bewildering to me that we Americans descended from people who left Mamma and Pappa on the European shores, boarded tiny wooden vessels with no cell phones, radars, or GPS, and made a two month voyage to a land that was completely foreign - with no eight hour flight back if things got the least bit messy. It says a lot for how bad Europe was in many cases, but it also says much about our natural craving to explore.
I love it. I'm not drumming up a cheap sale for a tour, either. I'm going no matter what... I just recommend that people travel and get out of their box... get off their little duck path to the pond... wander a bit... take the plunge.
We survived as a species for millennia without such trappings. Use them when necessary, but understand that you live in a culture that has made the most trivial and inconsequential stuff turn into headline news.
Kanye West and Kim?
Please. I don't care what tweets the twats care to twit...
And if that's how little time you have for communication - or what you consider to be a healthy amount of it, then my friend, you are in trouble...