Addictively Beguiling

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Addictively Beguiling

Not yesterday, but the previous Sunday Suze and l went out for lunch with her cousin and her partner, brilliant people in their later 70’s – truly lovely people, and we went to a really nice little public house that was perhaps around 400 years old. You know one of those quirky pubs, low bearing beamed ceilings, darkened wooden floors and wonderfully polished bars to within an inch of their mahogany lives?

It was crammed solid with people, and a few dogs here and there, a typical English country pub, and we all had a really superb meal, great company, me allowed to be me, because well Pamela [Suze’s cousin] is considered the quirky one of the family with her bright purple DM’s and bright yellow laces. Pamela likes being different to the crowds and her partner Robert is pretty quirky in himself, l think deep down he is probably on the spectrum somewhere, like myself.

On the drive through stunning countryside with enough blue in the sky to make not just one pair of sailors pants, but an entire fleet, we didn’t really see many people, well apart from the usual Sunday drivers that cuss you for being polite on the roadside in your range rover and pulling to one side of precarious country lanes whilst they in their mini cars slowly stagger through the gap available that a skilled driver could probably get two buses through side by side and then these Sundayers as l call them glare at you with eyes of burning hatred for even being on the road in the first place – you probably know what l mean, you will have met them l am sure, l feel they are all fallen from the same genetical tree!

As we approached the village we started to see more people, and of those people we saw three lads in an tyre change garage standing outside in the forecourt in a loose circle engaged not in joyous chatter but furiously tap tapping on their mobile phones. All three of them were looking at their phones and not a single word was exchanged between whilst we sat and awaited the traffic lights to change to green. So for three minutes they were all face down looking at miniature screens and laughing to themselves.

Of course this is the natural state of play these days as far as digital communication goes l feel. I mean after the lunch, Suze had to stop in a supermarket to pick up some bits and pieces and l opted to stay in the car and as l watched in an observational position from the seat, in the space of the fifteen minutes Suze was shopping, l may have seen 100 people. Of those 100 people, l would have to say that around 70% had phones and they were with an array of ages from teenagers to the elderly, with the prime catchment being awarded to those in the age range of perhaps 20 – 45.

These 70 odd people were not just in singles, some were in groups, pairs, trios and so on, and they all had one thing in common – they were either surfing or texting or just viewing. Most of them were oblivious to their surroundings, and l saw 6 people actually bump into others because they weren’t looking where they were going. Making matters worse the people they bumped into were involved in the same activity and so after a brief exchange of almost Mexican standoff eyeballing, they realised that these too were fellow digital slaves and all was forgiven, and each bumpee carried on their merry way once more engrossed in their screens.

Once inside the pub, the four of us at our prebooked table quickly sat down and started to catch up with the latest ‘what’s on, what’s not and Goss!’ Not really into true gossip, never have been but Pamela and Robert are as said quirky souls, so their gossip is not the anal and banal idle chatter of the usual style, but we talk of an assortment of things from rocket science to philosophy and Suze’s family, the latter l switch off to and allow Pamela and Suze to talk about whilst Robert and l talk about other stuff such as what he is currently into, which is actually building wooden portable radios and if not that then, model sailboats. With a natural love for the miniature, it is never boring to me.

Both he and Pamela have just adopted a Greek street dog and so he got out his mobile phone which is similiar to mine, as in not a Smart phone and showed me the photos of their new dog which they shall be naming Nemo which is Latin and doesn’t mean or refer to the fish, but actually translates to .. according to Wikipedia

“Outis (transliteration of Ancient Greek Οὖτις, in capitals ΟΥΤΙΣ, from οὔτις “nobody” or “no one”) is an often used pseudonym. Artists, writers and others in public life use this pseudonym in order to hide their identity. The Latin equivalent Nemo is also often used.”

Which for the record, l think is an absolutely superb name for this beautiful looking Greek street dog. But as he was showing me, he looked up and said “Look Rory, look around the pub tell me what you see …?”

So l scanned the pub, which may have had some fifty odd pubbers and diners present, and told him that l saw roughly 50 people, four dogs, fifteen yellow and assorted yellow plus coloured jumpers, 22 pairs of blue jeans, and l went into detail and finished off with … and just half of the people, staff excluded so 27 people were not actually talking to other people but were goggle eyed at their phones. This figure also included seven people who had meals in front of them, and they weren’t children.

“Yes, it is an addiction, even if it is somewhat beguiling wouldn’t you say?”

I had to concede to saying that l felt this way anyway, that people had simply either forgotten to communicate with each other, or had no interest in actual talking or worse, had forgetten how to actually speak to their fellow human beings. We had a gentle laugh about it. We enjoyed our lunch and our time together then Suze and l left them, stopped at the supermarket and then drove back to see a forlorn dog who thought she had been abandoned .. for all of the four hours we were away, and my conversation with Robert whilst not forgotten, was shelved ……… until the following day.

Where upon l read an article in the newspaper which was highlighting the perils of my conversation with Robert only the previous day about people’s addictive behaviour with regards mobile phones.

I am sure l am not the only one who struggles to understand why people would want or wish to be with other people on a night out or a lunch or going out with friends on an outing to only then proceed to stare at a screen instead of the faces of the people who have either invited you and vice versa? Where is the fun in that?

Sure an Internet connected phone is brilliant for convenience on the move, but isn’t that supposed be what it is principally for – convenience and not replacement of communication as in totally? When did is become perfectly normal behaviour to be in a group of people who one would assume something is shared on common grounds be this friendship or similiar interests and then basically, just forget they are there and ignore them?

I get it that in the cases of text, email or making a call on the move that we can respond and reply much quicker than previous platforms that were available to us and that we can digitally communicate now much faster than say the old phone booth system, and email is so much more efficient than the old letter writing system, and with the likes of Skype and Whats App you can ‘talk’ to people quickly and more cost effectively, but that is ideal for situations when you cannot be with those people, right then, right now. But a group of friends out for a laugh should be able to talk to each other without the need for digital communication, surely?

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We now live in a society where the likes of Social Media; Facebook and Twitter where upon people don’t actually really communicate with each other properly anymore, purely reliant upon the ‘media’. I had a Twitter account for nearly 18 months and gathered some 6000 followers which l closed down June 2017, because l found it boring, and totally lacking in any kind of ‘wham and kazazz!’. I have a Facebook account, and l belong to a couple of groups, but l hardly post in there anymore. I use it sparingly. I am guilty of using WP a lot, but whilst we have a sociable community here, it’s not that we are particularly being overly social here like the previously mentioned platforms.

Society and social media society is now fascinated more with receiving Likes and Follows and a grand status report on how digitally social’ you are being over how social you are truly being in real life? How does that make for great health? That society who many a time cusses gamers for their desire of the release of feel good chemicals into their brains with the ability to just feel good and achieve something  are just as guilty in so far as receiving likes and follows and the amount of online lol’s is more important now than actual laughs from real people.

We are all becoming trapped into digital technology, whether we like it or not, and let’s be honest the suppliers of digital appliances want us like the chemical giants to be further ensnared into our own desires to be addicted to something, it’s all about control l feel. a classic case of them and us, and currently it’s them that are winning, not us.

So, how addicted to your digital technology are you?

16 thoughts on “Addictively Beguiling

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  1. Not at all addicted, but then I am an older person, recently retired, who did not grow up with social media. I feel bad for younger people, as many have not known any other way of communicating. I have a cell phone for ER use only if I get stuck at the side of the road in a snowstorm, but it’s a $100 phone with annual card and NO data plan, so I am not tempted to constantly check it. I seldom text, and if people text me I usually don’t reply for days as it is stashed in my purse on vibrate and I seldom check it, and I haven’t given the number out to many people either so that cuts down on useage. I don’t do Twitter, (I find it stupid), or Instagram, (you need a data plan), and my attempt to grow my blog through PinInterest was a failure, and while I do check my Facebook account once a day for messages, lately I find I use it less and less as it’s mostly ads. I post on WordPress once a week, and while I will check back for likes and follows and comments a few days after the post, I’m not a slave to it. I find WordPress is more for readers and writers, who tend to be not social animals, as they are too busy reading and writing. I just recently followed you and this is the first article I have read of yours – it was very well written! Looking forward to more. PS. I recently read an article in Chatelaine magazine (it’s a Canadian publication) on cell phones and the effect on developing teenage brains, and it was scary – some of these kids had 4 or 5 different Instagram accounts, they are not living their lives, they are documenting them and chasing a level of popularity that is not achievable for the ordinary person. Sorry this is so long, I like to write.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What an absolutely superb answer – many thanks.

      Yes like you l have a mobile phone, it’s a brick for want of a better word and l have just upgraded the brick to a bigger version, with bigger keys – l am getting older now l feel 🙂 I was struggling with the smaller keys. But it’s not Internet connected. I have very few numbers in it, 14 l think. Most of those are services, and l have my ICE details installed in there. My partner Suze texts and calls me on it mostly. A few other people use it, but even though l have had the same number for several years, l couldn’t even tell anyone what it is, that’s how much l use it. i charge it up, and then it sits as now behind me on a shelf. I forget to take it with me 9/10 times, and then ask why do l have it.

      I found Twitter too fast and as said pretty boring, My dog has a Twitter account, but l only use it to post her own posts when she paws one in, other than that l steer clear of Twitter. My Facebook apparently according to a memory is now 8 years old as of yesterday, and l might use that as an occasional posting ..’socially” but mostly not. I belong to a poetry club on there and make a post of a piece once a day, other than that l don’t like it, although admittedly l use the message service to cchat with my Sister.

      I have never done Instagram, it just doesn’t have the appeal. Pinterest neither, don’t get it. But l do like WP because it is such an easier social community and why? Because as you say, it is like minded individuals readers and writers and we share that common ground.

      Thank you for your answer today and hey welcome 🙂

      Rory

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I wrote many articles on this topic a while ago, but you have found a way to describe the situation of today’s society in one beautifully written post. I’m not at all addicted to my cell phone nor Facebook or Instagram. I actually just started to post again on Instagram after being absent for over 8 months. I do have a Pinterest account that I mainly use to promote my posts. I really enjoy blogging on WordPress though and find myself reading WP friend’s blogposts and comments till late at night very often as I am surrounded by a wonderful group of creative, intelligent and funny people. So, I blame them for my lack of sleep! Rory, you are one of these persons by the way. I hope you do feel a little bit guilty about it. 😉 Oh, did I say that I often read blogposts until late at night? Uhmmm, I confess It’s almost every night and sometimes till very early in the morning, but I can go a few days without WP and without starting to shake & developing insomnia disorders…. Am I a WP addict? You tell me. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good ness what a thought Lady D shaking, l am all a shudder 🙂

      However l have seen you up late at night Dominique and l quickly Google the Candian clock and think to myself mm, either an insomniac or a WP addict – l think because WP is so very rewarding as an experience , many of us are addicts, but l think of all the addictions we could have there is nothing sinister about this 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It could definitely be worst. Hihi, I have absolutely no problem sleeping, never did. And I don’t consider myself an addict either as my family always come first. But I do wish there were more then 24 hours in a day or that I could give up my daily job so I wouldn’t have to read and write for the blog only at night and on weekends. BTW, I like the nickname you’ve gave me. 😘

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You have hit the nail on the head ‘Lady D’ [it’s fitting as a nickname for you Dominique] – if only there were more hours in each day, life would be way easier. I feel guilty most of the time these days, l write like a lunatic and then run out of time to visit my favourite blogs, l must learn to balance myself more 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lunatic? I don’t know about that, but you are really prolific indeed! Please, you shouldn’t feel guilty about not visiting as often as you want other people’s blogs because you often reblog their blogposts. In your own way, you encourage and help us all to grow our network of friends. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and friendship. I really appreciate.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hey Lady D, not quite sure how l didn’t see this – thank you for your words of kind. You are spot on, l may not always get the time to visit everyone’s blogs. When l was at 100 followers l could do that, but l can’t at 1100, and struggled when at 300 followers so l knew it was going to be problematic because of the sheer volume of things l write about. Lunatic, no of course not, prolific yes, addicted to writing and providing content, very much so.

        Writing is not just a love, it’s an escape from the madness of my constantly moving mind.

        I get to a regular few of my followers everyday, and the rest over the course of a month or so. I send out the nightly greetings as a way of saying ‘Hey, l may not be with your blog, but you are not far from my mind’, and l do reblog as much as l can.

        Thanks for seeing that and understanding, genuinely appreciative 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes, I totally know what you mean as I am in a similar situation… Adaptation! This is the effective strategy, according to Darwin’s theory. 😉 Only the most suitable individuals survive in the long term by adapting to environmental changes and inter-specific relationships. It is the development of mechanisms that allows us to ensure our well-being and the continuation of our activities … on WordPress as in all other spheres of our life. Have a great week ahead!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I would suggest that I’m pretty addicted to my phone. I play a game, check Facebook and I’m using Pinterest more but not on my phone so much – I do have Instagram but I forget to use it and Twitter is something I have had for several years but again, post my blog automatically and share disparate newspaper articles on it, but otherwise tend to ignore it pretty much like Instagram. However, I’m in my mid-forties and so was not brought up with the technology so I know when I have to put it down!
    I also use my phone for audiobooks on the go and for Kindle books when I’m out and about and I am forced to wait with nothing to do! Fab for an impromptu coffee shop stop! They’re very useful – that said I use the same handful of apps and ignore others that come with the phone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Ruby, l think all said and done you use your phone for a more practical useage rather than a ‘social media’ thing. Like you l am older and know when to stop, but equally don’t have an Internet phone so it’s much easier.

      Years ago, long before the arrival of Internet phones l used a mobile a lot more, but purely for business 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was addicted to Facebook, Twitter and some other social media sites. And, the worst part is I can’t stop this addiction by any mean. Then I got Skype! I just loged out from all of my social media accounts and started using Skype for communication.

    And finally I get rid of Social Media addiction! Now I do use my cellphone for communication purpose only!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey 🙂

      Thanks for commenting.

      Well, at the guru’s own admission in Silicone Valley they make social media addictive so people become addictive. ironically most of those giants wont let their own children use it until they are older, now that says something – glad you got unhooked though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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