We’re all guilty of it. The spark catches our eye, scorches our world. Until the light goes out. I’m talking about that inspirational film you watched, novel you read, street art you discovered, ______ you ______ed. Some random quote you re-blogged, conversation you overheard or piece of artwork that plunged into your being. That one moment in time where you felt inspired and recharged. You felt like you could really change the world. Somehow, something weaseled it’s way into your conscious and made you feel like “changing.”
Et demain? Tomorrow? So you watched a two minute video on YouTube that made you feel mildly guilty. A few volts shot into your system. But what about tomorrow? You’re probably already distracted by missed text messages and Instagram food shares before you remember the [at one point in time mind-altering] video. You may become more conscious of your usage, but before long you’re back to posting photos of your cat playing with a paperclip while you’re at lunch with you grandma. And that shit’s got to stop.
Nouns and verbs graze your skin like a sticker bush. But your cuts heal, and you soon forget the words that pricked you in the first place. The flame dwindles and it’s not such a big deal to miss a day or two at the gym. You chant the cliche, “One more episode…” You dismiss the concepts you discovered. They left no scar, so they are easily forgotten. Washed out love letters. What will it take to make a lasting impression?
I started The Paper Doll Army not only because I adore writing and receiving letters, but I want to re-instill human interaction. Real, tangible relationships. Sans memes and emoticons. I want to provide a playground that can withstand time and technology. The Paper Doll Army encourages people to connect through a palpable outlet. A timeless link in a paper chain – created with letters and postcards. The Internet has the power to connect humans from all walks of life, from all parts of the world. What happens more often than not is we become shut into a box, cut off from the rest of the world, with the illusion that we’re socializing and connecting with other humans. Refer to the video I posted last week. A barrier separates us. Glass panels cast between outstretched arms. Social networking, my ass. The Paper Doll Army wishes to plant grass roots. Cultivate organic relationships. Get off the Internet and log back in to reality.
I am honestly not trying to shame anyone. I understand we live in a different time, floating in a sea of free Wifi and 4G. But doesn’t it just make you groan sometimes? When I was growing up, I was allowed one hour of Internet a day. One. And Mom was strict about it. I probably got two hours during the summer, but I also had to share the computer with my brother and we constantly fought about who got to play the Lego game for PC. This was before the time of smart phones and streaming music. So, when my hour of Internet time was up, you could find me picking blackberries on our eleven acre property or playing in our dusty old barn. I’m quick to reference George Carlin:
When does a kid ever get to sit in the yard with a stick anymore? You know? Just sit there with a fucking stick. Do today’s kids even know what a stick is? You sit in the yard with a fucking stick… and you dig a fucking hole. You know? And you look at the hole, and you look at the stick… and you have a little fun. But kids don’t have sticks anymore. I don’t think there are any sticks left; I think they’ve all be recalled because of lead paint!
It’s a double edged sword sometimes. As a writer/blogger/whateverer, the Internet is a great tool to share my work, promote my products, and keep in touch with my friends and family across the country. I live over three thousand miles from my family. The Internet is a blank canvas I cast my paint upon in the fashion of photo and video uploads. But as the fate of the Gemini, I am forever teetering on the idea of what I “should” and “shouldn’t” do. I can’t tell which side offers the greener grass. A few years ago I took a strong interest in lifestreaming. I was armed with my iPhone every waking moment. I was obsessive and neurotic (I wouldn’t take a bite of my food until it was first photographed), but I’ve since cut back on sharing such a large slice of my life’s pie. And furthermore, I’ve stopped reaching out for other’s.
A few years back, I ran into an old friend. We hadn’t spoken in half a decade. She commented on some of the projects I’d been working on (none of which I personally told her about). A one-sided, half-assed excuse for a relationship, wherein neither one of us spoke because we had Facebook. And somehow, in this twisted world, that was enough. A lunch didn’t need to be scheduled to catch up on old times. A mere like or comment sufficed. A knock at the door in a bustling room. A gentle reminder. “I’m still here.” It pains me that we assume our friends know what we’re up to because we announce it on social media websites. I learned through Facebook my friend had a child. I discovered another friend got engaged because my newsfeed told me so. Something seems terribly wrong with this picture.
I do indulge in unnecessary Instagram posts and sporadic bathroom selfies every now and then, but I am definitely more conscious about how much time I spend with my eyes locked to a screen. And furthermore, I don’t think everyone needs to be all up in my bid’nazz all of the time either. But, that’s another story. I no longer look at life through my iPhone screen. You can’t take your Instagram pictures with you to the grave. Broken pixels in a hundred years time.
It takes courage to abstain from social media. A lot of people can’t bear the thought of leaving home without their phone. But I’m challenging you. There is #nofilter needed in the real world.
If you managed to digest these words with ease, consider this:
- Delete Facebook and other social media apps on your phone.
- Leave your phone at home.
- Limit your online time.
- Go outside.
If you need me, I’ll be writing and hanging out with this handsome goon.
Good evening and good riddance.
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