Monday, October 22, 2018

Going Viral

There's no doubt that social media has affected every part of our lives. At what cost? Is our quality of life improved or dampened?

Past generations waited until the birth of a baby to find out if it was a boy or girl. Now... we throw 'Reveal Parties'. Epic celebrations where each expectant couple hopes to outdo every other parent. 
One couple actually started a wildfire in an area suffering from a drought. The explosives they used to spray out colored confetti accidentally shot hot embers into the woods. It costs the taxpayers millions of dollars and destroyed an entire forest to make their announcement.

Adoptions for older kids are now going viral as parents and future siblings 'break the news' to the newest family member in various, creative ways. Now the color s pink or blue and the way they were presented become more important than the birth of the child. The creation and growth of a family. 
Will kids feel less loved if their parents don't announce adoptions in some fantastic way? Have we allowed the internet to become a measuring stick of parental anticipation, excitement, and love?

We complain our privacy is sold to companies but we eagerly share every private moment with strangers across the globe. We are the main characters in the open books of our lives. Ordinary people are aspiring to become internet celebrities. Overnight sensations. Living for 'likes','shares' and yearning to go 'viral'.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Jackpot

Tonight's Mega Millions Lottery is worth 
Incredible. Exciting. But in a way... disturbing.

If we as a people could pool our money together to create a jackpot worth a billion dollars, why can't we collect the same amount of money to cure cancer?

It was so easy. We all cooperated and followed the rules. We didn't complain or try to get out of it. We even had to get up off the couch or stop on the way home from work to go and purchase a ticket. Every family, in every state. Rich or poor. All faiths and without a single political crack.

We'll make time in our busy schedules to check the numbers or even tune in to watch the drawing, to see if we win.

Why? Are we willing to spend our hard earned money and make an effort as long as there's a chance, no matter how slim, that we might live the rest of our lives in luxury? 

But would we spend the same amount of money, 
or expend as much energy to save someone's life? 

A family member or a child. A neighbor or a co-worker. Even a stranger on the street. Would it then be too expensive? Find ourselves too busy? 

I just can't understand how we can chip in and collect a billion dollars in a short time, without complaint for a contest, but not do the same to eradicate the biggest, deadliest disease in the world.

Why not? Why don't we do it? Why is it even a question? And if people read this, will they demand it? Form long lines to donate? Make a special stop to get there? 

If it's all about the prize... is there any better prize than a cure for cancer?

Not in my book.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Are We Friends?

It's been fourteen years since we've led lives without Facebook. I can't remember what it was like without it. Facebook has deepened my present relationships and revived old ones. In just a few minutes, I can see what every single friend is up to, hoping to do and already done. There are pictures of them and their families. I can see what kind of movies, music, and recipes they enjoy. I'm right there when they get any kind of news, good or bad, and can offer words of encouragement, praise, prayers, and congratulations.

 I can't help but wonder if all this knowledge is... unhealthy. I now worry about more things and people than I ever did before. Are John and Cathy drinking too much? They're having cocktails in every picture. What if Nicole can't sell her house? Is Sara giving up writing? Jackie works too much. I hope Rose does well in school. Jude is going to miss her grandson so much. Rupal will make such a good mother someday. I can't believe Ken and Barbie broke up.  Sharon's still in pain after her surgery. Bonnie is having strange dreams. I see Jeanette's mother doesn't like what she's wearing in one of her videos. Rita graduated and got a new job. We'll miss her. Theresa got married? Let me see what he looks like... Amy's baby is adorable. Cathy and Ray are going to Disneyworld. Lori's pregnant! 

OMG! If my daughter leaves that picture of herself up there, I'll have to kill her.

The hours creep by. I'm still reading. FaceBook is addicting.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Reach Out and Type Someone

We have reached a time when communication is so simple we can reach out and touch someone on the other side of the world from the comfort of the recliners in our own living rooms. No need to buy a ticket, drive a car, find a companion, get directions, take off from work or get a babysitter. 

Our devices memorize and remember important dates. Times. Appointments and occassions. Phone numbers. Addresses. Passwords. Account numbers.

We needn't leave home to send mom flowers or renew a prescription. Why walk the aisles of a supermarket when you can shop from home and have them delivered?

Why fly? It's so much easier and cheaper to skype a visit. You can attend your grandson's birthday party via 'live' video. Almost like you're really there. Connect with family, friends, and classmates you haven't seen since you were a child.

From classrooms to board meetings all you really need is a laptop. We can be on the scene of every breaking news story anywhere in the world. Do all your banking and pay your bills without entering the buildings.

'Alexa' or 'Siri' can answer all your questions. Libraries and encyclopedias are obsolete.

Your appliances can turn themselves on and off. You can see who's ringing your doorbell from the office. Watch the kids get home from school. Unlock the door for them. See where your teenager is hanging out. 

When was the last time you had to stop for directions? Who doesn't have a GPS? Tell the radio to play your favorite tunes. Ask the TV what's on tonight. Do all your Christmas shopping in twenty minutes at 2am. 

Make your doctor appointments online. Review your labs and reports. Check your own blood pressure and EKG. Have your DNA analyzed. Skype a visit to your psychologist.

Check out your neighbors and the guy you met on a dating site. Photoshop your pictures. Virtual Tours can walk you through a property, vacation destination or The Eight Wonders of the World. 

Our books are read to us. We don't call. We text. We don't write letters. We Email. Where's the personal touch? Eye contact? The sound of a voice? The holding of a hand. The scientifically proven benefit of a hug? The all encompassing thrill and magic of a kiss? Doesn't matter if that kiss is healing a boo-boo or a causing a young girl to fall in love.

There is very little you can't do on your cell phone or computer. What can't be done today will be possible by tomorrow. Virtual reality. Experience life without actually living it.

Fascinating. Terrifying. A blessing. A curse. The chance to reach every destination and goal without traveling the road or doing the work. We'll have thousands of people in our circle without knowing a single one. 

Yes. The ever-increasing ability to communicate with each other will eventually make us the loneliest people in the world.