So there’s this guy. And before you get all happy and squeal-ly, this guy is a creepy guy. He’s one of those types that you’d thought was mute for the longest time, until he answered the teacher’s question and gave you a heart-attack. And normally you don’t care for this guy, you just merely accept his existence. Until one day he adds you as a friend on Facebook. But it’s still okay because you’re thinking, “maybe it’s because it’s a new year and everybody is a little shy”. So you click the blue ‘Confirm’ button. After a cursory glance at his profile, you forget about him and go back to whatever it is that you were doing before. When next you see him at school, you adopt a slightly more friendly attitude, after all he did take the initiative to be ‘friends’ with you. But he’s still the same, so you shrug it off. One day he pops up on Facebook chat, with a neutral ‘hey’. Now you’re thinking, “he probably needs something for an assignment”. You reply with an equally neutral ‘hey’. Mistake number 1. So this guy starts a seemingly innocent conversation, and in cyberspace he seems like any other guy. Then this fella startles you with a really random personal question. This is where you start to think along the lines of ‘what the hell?’. You deflect these awkward questions and make up some lame excuse about having to go offline, when really you just become offline to him only. You spend the rest of the night refraining from posting anything, for fear of him knowing that you are actually online. You go to school the next day and after asking around, you discover that this guy is like this with everyone. He is an awkward chatterbox online, yet in real life, you doubt he has a voice box whilst he has yet to acknowledge your existence.
So does this mean that technology, the ease of communication on the internet and social networking in general is having a detrimental effect on society? To the extent where we forget our people skills?
You look around and you see people’s noses buried in their iPhones, BlackBerrys and what have you. But they can still talk right? And I’m not just talking about teenagers here, even people going through their mid-life crisis can’t seem to be torn away from their tiny black screens. Don’t get me wrong, just because I may be a little bit bitter about not owning a smartphone, doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate its awesomeness. I just think that adopting a whole different persona online is a little dodgy.
Aside from this, don’t you feel weird when you see an eight-year-old walking around with and iPhone? I mean when I was eight, the most technologically advanced thing I owned was a GameBoy. These eight-year-olds that make social networking accounts because its ‘cool’- are they the ones that will grow up to be like creepy-stalker-guy (the guy in my story, in case you were wondering)? Sure these kids talk, and by god sometimes I wish they didn’t, but does the availability of technology and lack of face-to-face communication cause them grow up to be socially awkward adults?
I like the internet and the advances of modern technology as much as the next guy, but I also enjoyed the environment I grew up in during the late 90’s- a time that was still largely untainted by the negative effects of the internet. If you look back, people were also so much more friendlier then. If you offered your neighbour a ride, your intentions were not questioned, and you weren’t secretly accused of being an axe-murderer. Recently an acquaintance of mine offered to help an old lady carry her groceries across the road. The poor guy got screamed at because the old lady thought he wanted to steal her groceries. I mean, seriously?
To be honest, I don’t really give a rat’s-ass about this sort of issue most of the time. Sure the old lady was kinda funny, and the little kids with the flashy phones are kind of disturbing, but that wasn’t was freaked me out. The idea that all these kids might one day grow up to become creepy-stalker-guy, in a society where being creepy-stalker-guy is socially acceptable, when people have lost the capability to communicate face-to-face and society has generally just become meaner; that scares me.
And on a kinda semi-but-not-really related note, does anyone know how I should deal with creepy-stalker-guy? He actually said Hi yesterday and it totally weirded me out. :/