Originally Published for the Bentley Vanguard on February 18th, 2015
140 characters. You are given 140 characters on Twitter to formulate an articulate stream of consciousness. In a world of infinite scrolling, status updates, to-do lists, one-liners, and part-timers, these snippets of awareness are all we get to express our inner demons. We live in a time where conversations are held through radio waves instead of voice boxes. Our attention spans are far shorter than this introduction and if I haven’t successfully captured yours, then I’ve completely lost you.
I’m standing in front of the David in Florence, Italy. Yes, the David. But I’m not staring at the stunning size, the smooth creases of his sling, nor the majestic expression smeared across his face—No. I’m taking pictures of the dozens of tourists taking pictures of Michelangelo’s incredible feat. In an age where nothing can be seen without the frame of a camera, it’s “photos or it didn’t happen”.
With the explosion of the technology era, we are able to take shelter under the convenience of an emoji in lieu of words—or time for that matter.
There is a constant battle of who can say the least but still get their message across, the loaded subtext of a simple “K” weighing far more than we could have ever imagined. We have become mechanic shells of the highly intelligent creatures we envision ourselves to be, obsessed with the fast-paced backbones of reality. We can’t even walk to the bathroom without our eyes glued on our iPhones, as if one look away will catapult us into virtual oblivion.
Can someone tell me—is this real life?
We’ve become trapped in these bubbles we’ve created for ourselves. Declaring love through our devices, we are not in a relationship with each other rather the glowing LCD screens radiating against our blank faces. We stare at phones longer than we can bear to gaze into each other’s eyes and choose to keep our thoughts silent, fearing exposure.
My brain often feels like it’s short-circuiting.
It has become nearly impossible to concentrate on a single task for more than ten minutes at a time, not to mention the constant bombardment of notifications demanding my attention. We can’t sit still. We bounce back and forth between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, in hopes that we find solace between the folds of an electronic page. We think prescription drugs will help us focus, but that’s only mediating the symptoms not solving the pressing issue. This constant refreshing of the same click-bait feed has my eyes glazing over. I think Buzzfeed articles are the driving force against intellectual stimulation. These repetitive, unsubstantiated, shallow lists lack purpose and ultimately attempt to stretch information that could be presented in as little as one paragraph. Carefully numbered lists make me feel like I’m being spoon-fed information, as if I’m too simple minded to question the validity of their statements. Then again perhaps in this too-busy-right-now world, we are only able to digest articles such as the “14 Celebrity Transformations to Give Us Hope” and “11 Epic Facts About Lefties”.
The idiocy is palpable.
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