Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The anti-social network

Reading this Non Sequitur comic strip from January 12 newspaper got me thinking... “Anti-social networking” sounds like a great idea and somebody ought to invent it one day. Or maybe it is already here in disguise? People are so busy “communicating” on their various favourite “social” network that they barely go out and speak to other humans in person anymore. They chat, sms, twit, blog and spend the rest of their time on facebook updating their status or checking what their “friends” are doing. They sit next to each other in the subway, their attention transfixed on their “smart” phone or pod/tablet thing, plugged into their music or game, oblivious of their surroundings. A nation of zombies trying to keep their interaction with other people to a minimium. So much that I am wondering if they can interact anymore or if they even care.

It's the era of the ultimate selfishness. People don't care about anything but themselves and don't respect anything or anyone. In the subway, they push and shove without uttering any excuses, put their slushy boots on the seat in front of them to confortably rest their poor little feet, they keep their backpack on their back unmindfully swinging it in other people's face, they laugh and chat loudly. They don't respect anyone, any rules, any laws. It simply doesn't apply to them. Why should it apply to THEM: they're the omphalos, the navel of the universe.

I just sit there, in the middle, observing and trying not to react, not to interfere, trying to stay civil and polite. It is so frustrating. The fact that I am working with the public let me see it all: the selfishness, the rudeness, the foolishness, and the ignorance. It is not that people don't have a good side; it just that after a while you tend to focus just on the ugliness. And I am not the only one to have noticed that the customer is not always right...

Unfortunately, a society functions well because there's a set of rules and laws that binds and meshes its components -- the people -- together. When we start disregarding the rules, then the society becomes disfunctional and will eventually implode. It has happened before and will happen again...

So now the question is what can we all (without too much interference) do about it?

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