Turning inner space into outer space

March 29, 2024

What if we did social media IRL?

Have you ever seen someone on social media chastise you for spending too much time on the computer? Go outside, they say. Hang out with friends.

Setting the irony aside, this does conjure an image. What if you did hang out with friends, but you were so conditioned by social media that it wound up being an IRL template?

Here’s what it might look like.

Imagine a group of, say, a dozen people sitting in a circle in your living room. These people would be in that circle because they “follow” each other.

They come and go as they please. Some are there all there all the time. Some might be there for a few minutes.

The purpose of this group is to be social so some talking is expected or it won’t work.

Someone holds up a picture of a deer in their back yard. A few give a thumbs up because they like the picture. Others couldn’t care less about deer and don’t react. Some are distracted and don’t notice the picture.

Now things get rolling, and people have lots to say.

Person 1 says something. It’s interesting but before you can react . . .

Person 2 ignores what person 1 said, and says something unconnected. That’s also interesting.

Person 3 and person 4 bring up two other topics at the same time. It’s getting hard to keep up. You ignore what person 4 said because there is only so much you can take in.

Lots of people are saying lots of interesting stuff, but it’s all unrelated. You start thinking about the witty thing that person 5 said, but before you can fully digest it, person 6 has said something profound that deserves some thought.

After awhile, it’s apparent that there are two types of people in the circle. There are the few who talk over each other, hoping to get everyone’s attention. They’re usually nice about it, but sometimes they’ll say something outrageous just to make you look.

The other type of people are those listening for an entertaining tidbit here and there in the din.

Finally someone says something that makes sense. Get on the computer, they say. Social media is better organized. You don’t have to have people in your house.

And off you go.