Is Social Media going to hurt us more?

So it’s just occurred to me that I haven’t updated this in 3 months. In fact, I haven’t written about any of my actual travelling at all. It hadn’t even occurred to me until now. I’ve been wondering all night about how this managed to happen. I tossed and turned, restless on the question of why. Why this increased apathy towards self-expression in the modern world… Why are we just so damn lazy?

There are too many distractions in the 21st Century. Even as I write this now, I have tabs on Facebook, Hotmail, Bristol Accommodation, Autotrader (buying a car is so not the kind of shopping I relish), my Blackberry buzzing, Russell Brand on the TV and Beyonce on the radio. Still, this is a haven of quiet compared to normal. There are a million things that could drag my eyes from the screen, and a million things lurking on the internet just asking to be googled. The internet. I don’t know how people with internet jobs ever get any work done. That’s pretty much three quarters of the population so, in fact, I don’t know how anyone ever gets any work done. Maybe they don’t. Maybe that’s why the economy fell in on us like an imploded soufflé… Everyone just got so distracted Facebook?

But why do we not push through these distractions to write, or create, or do anything? Is it pure laziness? Sure, it’s a lot easier settling down to the series two of Californication than writing a novel. Historically, people had it a lot easier… If you consider that in Austen’s time, one of their fun ways to pass time was to take a walk around the room in a circle, you can say why writing held such interest. But perhaps, in the battle with You Tube, Chat Roulette, Blackberry Messenger and Gossip Girl, writing lost its appeal. But surely it must be something more than just laziness.

I think the reliance on technology is turning us all into shells. It makes us empty. Soon we’ll find ourselves with nothing to talk about. How many days have you spent looking at Facebook, realising there is actually nothing to see, or watching Scrubs reruns, or having conversations on Blackberry Messenger in just smiley faces. And you go to bed and you ask yourself what you’ve done today, and you realise nothing, just nothing, and you can’t remember the last time you actually did anything. We don’t go to plays, we don’t go to art exhibitions, we don’t read books. We don’t need to. There is enough on the telly. Of course no one writes anymore, what do we have to write about?

The name of my blog is a quote taken from the dedication of Zadie Smith’s On Beauty . The four-line dedication is the only quote I know off by heart. It’s my favourite piece of writing in any book, play or poem I’ve ever read. To me, the quiet loyalty of the sentiment, so unlike the Public Displays of Affection of celebrity couples, is truly romantic.

“To Nick, who taught me that ‘Time is how you spend your love’, which is why this book is dedicated to him, as is my life”

I spent a good year wondering what ‘time is how you spend your love’ means. I still haven’t worked it out fully, but the way I see it, the time we spend doing nothing, isn’t time at all. It’s relegated to some below-par, substandard, pretence of time. In reality, it’s nothingness. We create time by filling it with things that make us truly fulfilled. In fact, we are the master of time. Which just leaves me to wonder, if time is how you spend your love, did mankind forget to wear a watch?

So, this is an apology to myself, and to time, for not using it at all. I will endeavour to switch off the television, put Sky Plus on hold and my Blackberry on silent, and I will fill this depleted blog with the stories, colour and observations from around the world. I’ll fight the good fight not to become a slave to the 21st Century.

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