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[Updated] I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Twitter (and Facebook, and Instagram, and OKCupid, etc.)

11/26/2011

(c) The New Yorker, illustrator: Chris Ware

Historically I’ve not exhibited the traits of an addictive personality, but lately I find myself madly checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, OKCupid, that last one an attempt to meet new friends and force myself bravely out into the world, but what a fucking struggle. While I may be chronologically forty****ing two I succumb to my biological and psychological desire to be with people younger than me. I don’t mean Lindsay Lohan younger, just born in the 70s younger. But am I a pervy sicko for desiring Generation Y? So, the compulsive checking. The iPhone. The iPad. Facebook, Twitter. Not to mention drafting outgoing tweets in the face of all those genius tweeters and hoping to god they don’t fall horrifyingly flat. I don’t even know who I’m tweeting to. I mean I do, I see my followers list but who are these people? They don’t tweet back. And since they seem to be following thousands of people, I have to assume that my tweets are infinitesimal blips in their Twitterverse. I tweet my favorite musicians: DEAD AIR. But it’s me! I’m tweeting show times and record releases, I’m a one-woman PR machine. Even when a musician (@nekocase I’m talking to you) starts replying to her Tweeters in a late-night fit of procrastination, I still can’t get a reply. But I interviewed her for crissakes, I’ve been to every show in Portland for 10 years! OK, so the obvious thing to do is put myself on a fast, agreed? That’s what I did when the economy tanked and the news started to freak me out. The anchors and headlines screaming DEBT CRISIS or NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN IN NORTH KOREA and my family blaring the televisions in every room like we were hearing-impaired. It was 2009 and the nightly news kicked me into anxiety attack territory. So unless I’m on the treadmill at the gym (which is a lot, thanks to aforementioned age and disposition toward anxiety attacks) and the situation is most desperate (the Kardashians aren’t on, or the goddamn cooking shows are the only thing on, which is a ridiculous thing to watch when you’re exercising), I still don’t watch the news, and I especially avoid politics. So, give it up? Give up the iPhone and the iPad and the apps and the check-ins (“New Meetup: literate indie rock fashionista queer girls born between 1970-1975 considering solo parenting in search of 24 Hour Fitness workout partners”). I would really like a few more solid awesome friendships. And a herd of gays to be out with on the weekends. (Here’s where I start to sound like my parents, I tell all the 20- and 30-somethings, ENJOY IT WHILE IT’S HERE DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED YOU’LL BE SORRY LATER). Anyway after exhaustive research I’m pretty sure the girls I’d like to hang out with are in Brooklyn. One time I loved a girl in Brooklyn. We met online of course. Broke my heart. (On the other hand, that broken heart delivered a hell of a lot of creative mileage and music-festival organizing energy.) Then there’s the world-as-I know-it, settling down, a dwindling supply of friends heading out at night, isolation at-large on the increase, all of us staring down and fondling our glowing white devices. But I did find love online once. I’ve also found psychosis and poly messes or “Let’s move in together” rapid-fire your life is taken over and down the toilet in 6 months or less. I take responsibility for that. I’m pretty blind those first three months. This rant is meandering and what I’m trying to say is that I’m addicted to my devices. And firing off what are sometimes clever and relevant 140 character shots in the dark. And watching how many people are reading my blog. And what they’re clicking on. Apparently, also, I am addicted to looking for sympaticos, so I can feel less the outcast. I never wanted to be the outcast. I wanted to be “normal” and worthy of my family’s approval and I wanted to blend in. Being gay and smart in the South pretty much ruined that. So if not online, then what? That’s an exhausting thought. I think I’ll charge the iPhone, cuddle up, and re-start the obsessive hunting for treasure. Maybe giving up the devices and apps isn’t a realistic first step. I mean this crack habit after all is old and set in its ways: bulletin board systems (1985), AOL (1992), IRC (1995), message boards (1998), Nerve (2001), blogs (2005), Facebook (2007), Twitter (2008), OKCupid (2010). But I think what’s happening is I need to crack open my cemented digital rituals, pull away (slowly, slowly) from the compulsion and isolation and press toward, well, you?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. katy permalink
    11/26/2011 17:29

    yeah, Cori, about the history of the Nez Pierce…how’s that going for you? I feel like I’ve been stuck on pg. 88 for about 3 months. Is that possible? Feels like the opposite of what you’re writing about.

    • 11/26/2011 17:35

      To be honest, I can’t even get past page 5 and returned it to the library. I’m hoping the next book chosen is a little more, digestible. But I don’t really expect what I’m writing about to have anything to do with book club. I don’t even know WHAT the hell it is I’m writing about yet. Just making myself write and take risks. Creating is better than inertia, even if it’s scarier. I have faith that you can get past pg. 88 Kati-san.

  2. Bobs-yer-Uncle permalink
    11/28/2011 13:40

    The unexamined life is not worth living… (ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthrôpôi — ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ)

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