Third life

As recent as 60 years ago, a businessman could let his hair down (or hat off) at home, smoke a cigarette or pipe, and watch the news

(in black and white). In fact, at the U of TX Austin museum, an exhibition is underway to show you just that: witness to a century.

Now, we spend a considerable amount of time online, commenting, following, blogging, liking and…venting.

Welcome to modernity i.e. jet plane, mobile devices, fast food and “social” sans borders.

It will either be misinformation or disinformation about us, and certainly, easy access (Snowden’s alert).

(at least, on LinkedIn, they let you reverse look up people who looked you up).

Some people even advocate cyber abstinence or cyber sabbatical.

The idea is to rearrange our priorities so face time can take precedence over screen time.

Twitter is so prescient in mobile connectivity. “Where are you now” has been one of the most asked questions in mobile conversation.

Now, with Twitter, we can proactively let “followers” know our where-about (In transit at a Korean airport, for instance).

Next and last frontier would be cloud-based computing (dropbox).

One exception: college students still prefer to haul around heavy textbooks over digital readers. Masochist?

Or just the last streak of rebellion?

In case you haven’t noticed, we now know more about Facebook friends of friends who posted regularly on-line, than our closest relatives who live far away.

So back to our businessman in the 50’s, who wore suspenders like Larry King‘s. Only now that our Happy Days dad comes home from work (first life) skips over his second life (wife, kids and supper time) to go online (third life), where he keeps taps intimate details of his “friends”, while his wife, perhaps is doing so on her mobile, while out shopping for a bargain on groupons.

And what about the kids? They have already got their daily dose of  100 SMS messages before seamlessly continue their virtual existence on multi-screen. The truth hit home to me, when, upon staying at a friend’s house last week, I discovered a stool in the toilet. Asked what it’s for. Guess what, the kids surfed the internet while using the bathroom. That stool was his lap top stand.

Welcome to our 21st century, when we not only have public and private life, as in the 50’s, but also, virtual life.

If unchecked, this technology-aided life (Third Life) will take a larger chunk of our 24-hour pie, even bathroom time. Amuse ourselves to death.


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