In today’s society, The Great Wall(s) of America divide us through many means
If there is one thing that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older in this era of “social media” and technological breakthroughs, it’s that there is a separation that has grown between people, even among our closest friends, that I like to call “The Great Wall(s) of America.” By relying on the usage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagam and the myriad of other social media outlets, we have built a wall between ourselves. We no longer have the ability to converse directly with each other, let alone the telephone. We’ve built The Great Wall(s) of America around ourselves. The Chinese may have been able to build a wall to keep out their enemies. We’ve built walls to keep out our friends.
Socializing over The Great Wall(s) of America
Gone are the days when human beings would sit down and talk with each other (certainly at the very least, without checking their smartphones for updates, text messages or Facebook posts), or call each other on the phone. All “personal communication” is done via social media, with walls in between so we feel safer in what we say. We hail technologies such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as tools that allow us to “socialize” with more and more people. But are we really socializing or just lobbing out the comments that we feel are necessary to signify that we said something in the first place? If you’re not engaging with someone about a “post” they felt was absolutely necessary to express to the whole world, are you really having a conversation? And if you’re the person posting it and no one cares to comment, aren’t you just being an attention whore?
Nowhere is The Great Wall(s) of America more present than the vitriolic discourse of today’s politics. Rather than have face to face, LOGICAL discussions about the issues that affect this country (and how badly those elected to office are dealing with them), we turn to Facebook and Twitter to log incendiary comments with insane statements composed by the fringes of society in order to get responses from the farthest reaches of logical and sane territory. We do this from behind technological walls to insure our safety, and write counter responses safely from our couches while watching “The Real Housewife Top Chefs of Miami.” It’s an ideological war fought clad in anonymity from the safety of a laptop or mobile device, free from reprocussions.
The irony that I have made my life out of social media during the creation and rise of The Great Wall(s) of America is not lost on me. But at least I can admit it. I can take the time to call my friends or the woman I’m dating. I’ll invite people to come join us for Cocktails and Movies to enjoy group settings where actual discourse and fun conversation can be had without the use of a smart phone or computer in front of them. Hell, I even invite people to join me for lunch and just sit and talk. (The problem therein lies that I could give two rat shits about cooking shows, reality show about bachelorettes, real housewives, or anyone with “talent” which leaves me with very little to talk about in today’s society – and there’s the rub.)
I have no illusions that The Great Wall(s) of America are here to stay. As we move away from social gatherings like movies (toward watching films on our smart phones and computers like Louis B Mayer envisioned), and actually talking about “life” with each other face to face without having to look at our devices, we continue to build the wall up. At some point it will be too high to ever climb over, and we’ll be stuck on one side or the other, with people we’ll find that we don’t really necessarily get along with because we hadn’t really interacted with them, and we’ll build another wall. This one more confining and exclusive. Until, one day, we’ll all have walls around ourselves.