I was shocked to learn this week, that 36 percent of people under 35 text or tweet right after sex. Only 8 percent over 35 do so. The 36 percent left me shaking my head, and then on further reflection, the 8 percent had me wondering what was wrong with the old folks. Was it an eyesight and small motor issue? It summons up quick explanations for the split at the age of 35, like the difference between being a tech immigrant or a tech native, but it is more than that, I think. It is a need to be heard, to be an authority, and to be the first with a scoop. I didn’t rely on the first source, to accept what I heard as fact, though. I went searching for corroboration from reputable sources. Information on the web is suspect most of the time, and searching for corroboration can have you running in circles. A more naive researcher might have accepted the circular repetition as confirmation. I didn’t, and I found what I needed from some network news agencies.
That technology is creeping into every aspect of our lives, is no news to anyone. Since the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel technology has made our lives easier and richer. The last ten years have seen an explosion of new disruptive technologies that have changed the way we view the world, view ourselves, and identify ourselves to the world. It has allowed us to create a new electronic, or virtual, persona.
The uses of the internet have far outstripped the militantly non-commercial nature of it 15 years ago. At that time, the university types and the researchers, who were the heavy users and saw themselves as the guardians of internet protocol, would have “flamed” a user for even endorsing a product in a post. That has all changed. The new tech dependent world has introduced new aspects to our lives that we would not have dreamed of twenty years ago. Of course in the 1940s Dick Tracy had a wristwatch phone and the 1960’s Star Trek had those cool communicators, but our tech natives wouldn’t give them a second thought, and nor should they. We live in far more impressive times and, in fact, hardly have the time to watch movies like Dick Tracy or Star Trek, or most other movies. That is the point of this piece. This is not a rant about the good/bad old days.
Let’s get back to that group that tweets and blogs after sex – both groups. They are a subset of people that insist on reporting on the minutiae that characterizes their lives. That it is often misspelled, grammatically bizarre or contains impossible acronyms, is of little consequence. The important thing is the amount of time devoted to the practice of reporting. It is probably wrong to say devoted, because so much of other activity like eating, sleeping, driving and sex, seem to be just interruptions to reporting on their world. So many activities take a back seat to tweeting, blogging and updating Facebook, that they have even had to pass laws preventing it while driving. I know someone that totalled their car while texting. Could they not have waited? No, of course not.
Reporting on any and all activity, even your bodily functions, or while engaged in bodily functions, seems mandatory. I stood at a urinal in the Vancouver airport while the man in the next spot talked loudly on his cell phone. He even had a cigarette in his mouth. I asked him, “Is that what they call voice-over-I-pee.” He sneered and jutted his chin at me over the divider, causing the ash to drop, hopefully not anywhere delicate. He growled while I fled.
He is not alone, though. I have heard many people tell stories about voices coming out of bathroom cubicles, indicating that someone was on the phone in there. Children don’t see the world closest to them anymore and can’t even tell you the route to school, because they have their noses buried in their phones, iPods and Gameboys. Nor do they enjoy holiday drives, and end up leaving the car as if emerging from an elevator. Nothing that has happened outside the car window is as important as what pair of shoes a friend was wearing or reading and commenting on a Facebook update.
Art suffers too. This sound-bite, and megabyte mentality has taught us to ignore what is placed before them. For instance, they don’t see what is happening in a gallery, in a performance, on the movie screen, or TV screen, because they are focused on the small screen in their hands. The carefully planned scene work and dialogue in the film or TV show becomes background noise to the reportage in their hands. Only when there is a gunshot or car crash will they lift their heads and usually ask, “What happened?” I watched someone walking through an art gallery a few weeks ago without lifting their head, only to say once outside, “I don’t see what everyone is raving about.” That, of course, was the point; he didn’t see. But, I am sure he reported to all those who were interested in his doings, that he was there at the gallery. Hopefully, they were more impressed than he was.
We have become the medium. I am no McLuhan scholar, but did he see this coming? That we would all become the medium? That we did not so much live our lives, as report on it and document it to prove that we are indeed here.
Did he predict that our lives would fill with reporting on nothing in particular, or worse, on just the particulars.
Not only do we “share” our posts and “retweet” other peoples’ tweets, we have even resorted to reporting on the tweets in the conventional media. Every Sunday I can read the most newsworthy tweets from celebrities in the newspaper. Is that some sort of nested meta-language? Does it give validity and a celebrity endorsement to what we do ourselves, and help to perpetuate the activity of reportage in 140 characters or less.
We are all becoming guilty of it, and rationalize it however we must to continue. So it is no wonder that we find people blogging and tweeting right after sex. What’s next? Don’t ask.