Against Digital Life

It is now difficult, if not impossible, to even think of a life without the digital accessories of life.

Things have progressed and come to such a head that it is surely not possible to live without a facebook or a twitter account, or both. Forget email, it is passe.

Of course, the digital revolution started with email and hotmail for most poeple. But now, after some 20 years, life is full of digital devices and tools and trash.

In fact, the volume of digital data and trash that even an average lay man has to handle has increased manifold over the past decade or so. Apart from emails and text messages, there are MMS and video clips, podcasts, facebook messages, twitter messages, and trash coming from all the websites that we have registered ourselves in. Then, there is tracking of your digital activities by snooping software that you unknowingly downloaded into your computer.

The impact of digital media has generally been positive, especially for business use. However, overuse of such tools and devices in the name of demographic synchoronization will lead people to become anti-networking face-to-face, which produces far more impact than that email or text message. While all the digital accessories are surely needed, and more such stuff is on the way, it is critical to realize that within families for example digital life could become destructive.

We tend to get addicted, and I recently read an article which talks about internet addiction amongst youngsters and even amongst married couples. If internet is going to take over our social lives, then we are entering a dangerous phase of human evolution.

While it is absolutely fine to carry out the sundry activies like online banking, ordering of gift materials online, and staying in touch with remote contacts and friends online, it is very important that the “old style” social life can never be fully replaced by digital media (yes, sometimes by video conference over Skype or Gmail Chat Video, but not as good in the real sense). So, it is important to allocate time for the “real” social life that we have all started to miss out on.

I have seen people arguing for and against, and some teenagers vouching for the ability of Facebook to keep them going for ever. Well, I am not so sure. Yes, I do have a Facebook account (like everyone else) but to check out more on what is going on in the network of mostly remote friends. Very rarely do I even enter a comment on FB. I like it when people write to me (via email of course) one-to-one than publicly making a comment. Of course, one can show off something, like a dish prepared in an unique manner, to all folks over FB.

Even better, it would be good if someone who has something to say to me picks up the phone.

I believe that the world would eventually get around to realizing the critical importance of face-to-face interactions. I am sure someone would even try to digitize the whole interaction in some unique, as yet unknown way, but for the moment let us meet and talk !


Vijay Srinivasan
4th November 2012


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