There is absolutely no way that human beings should exist in a state such as the one created by the smartphone.
We walk around every day with a small instrument in our pocket that contains a virtual world which is totalitarian to us, but completely irrelevant to everybody else.
If we're frequently logging on to social media, then we're obsessed with obtaining "likes" a currency which is actually valueless in the real world, but seems pure gold whenever we're on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. Social media deteriorates our social skills because now we are all our avatars, and actual human beings too, but the difference between the two is vast.
It's kind of like how Earvin "Magic" Johnson always said about himself. He's two people- there's Earvin and then there's Magic. That's fine for a celebrity athlete entertainer, but here in the dull, mundane tedious existence of the everyman, it's maladaptive.
Sure, there have been a multitude of news articles, television segments and scientific studies conveying just how harmful the smartphone is and how its qualities make it so addictive. The message has been heard loud and clear- social media is anti-social.
It's taken words like "invitation" and "share," both of which once had a very pleasant meaning, and bastardized them. You can thank Facebook for contorting and distorting both of those words, but they are just a symptom of the greater disease.
Sharing used to be defined as the act of giving something you have, something of value, to someone else. Now it's obnoxious and shameless self-promotion.
It's basically spamming someone, but somewhere along the way some corporate "evangelist" created this piece of sinister spin. I get this same email pitch, every work day, multiple times:
"Hi Paul, would you please share this with your readers?"
What they're actually saying is, "can you promote our brand for us, without us compensating you anything?"
An invitation used to be an opportunity to attend an event where one would theoretically be treated as a guest. Now it's cheap ploy attempting to make you either pad someone's ego by liking their fan page or give them your money.
Our descendants will wonder how corporatespeak and buzz words, a dialect best embodied by that HORRIFYING Tronc video from a couple years ago, replaced English as our official language.
They have as much blood on their hands as anyone, but make no mistake, this is all a group effort.
Don't forget Google, the monopolist search engine that gets to somehow live in a universe free of Sherman Anti-Trust laws.
Google is also creepier and more Big Brother than even the darkest figments of George Orwell's imagination.
They tell us exactly where we've parked, what store we're in, and create musical videos about our lives without us even asking, via facial recognition software and other technologies that go beyond the pale of our understanding.
That's what Google tells us they know about us. Imagine what they know and don't tell. A New York Times tech writer wrote a column on what happened when he downloaded the information Facebook has on him and it was horrifying.
Imagine if you did this with Google.
This is why Vladimir Putin's troll armies were able to hack our election, and will continue to do so. Our brains have already been long hacked, and for the sacrifice of what? Stealth marketing designed to further increase corporate profits.
To quote General Grey in Independence Day, "they knew exactly where and how to hit us."
So what can we do moving forward?
Full Disclosure: I am as guilty of being addicted to the smart phone and social media as anybody, and I'm doing all I can to try and fight against it. I see the egomaniacal millenials in my building elevator everyday with their tech neck on their phones, and wonder if they can be redeemed?
I see my nieces and nephews, subjugated by the products of Silicon Valley, and hope they change, and eventually shake this addiction. If they read what follows next, hey, at least it's a start, right?
Knowing is half the battle, and we must all now know that the smartphone makers and tech companies operate on the casino model.
Their products are addictive due to the bells and whistles, colors and noises, designed to keep interacting.
Like Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction, apps on your smartphone are needy to a level commensurate with a psychopath. When you have no new notifications, and you've been off the platform for awhile, they will send you fake notifications in order to keep you paying attention to them.
Profile pictures trick you into believing that you are having actual human, face to face contact, and not just looking at circuits. The best advice I can offer is this- remove as many push notifications as you can, eliminate as much color as possible, keep the sound off whenever possible, delete as many apps as you can.
That said...now go and "share" this article with all of your followers on all of your social platforms.
As Sideshow Bob infamously said "I'm aware of the irony of appearing on TV in order to decry it. So don't bother pointing that out."
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune corporation blogging community Chicago Now.
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