I’ll be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with the Internet. On one hand, it allows us to access a wealth of information at unprecedented speeds and connect with people on opposite ends of the world. We are able to learn more, faster, which I think is a great thing. But the other side of the coin is a bit more tarnished. Over time, the Internet has made us a cowardly people.
By Becca Chavoya
Let me explain.
When you ask someone out, how do you do it? Do you saunter up to them at a bar and compliment their captivating smile? Do you stop the girl from class just before she gets on the elevator to invite her to dinner? Do you ask the guy standing next to you at a show to get drinks afterward?
No. You most likely text them or shoot over a Facebook message.
Do we resort to technology for basic human communication because it is easier, more convenient? Maybe. But what if we do it because we are just plain scared?
We live in an era where we are able to document every aspect of our lives — or at least, the most glamorous version of it. We are a generation masked by filters and edits. When we step out from behind the screen, we are faced with the reality that we are real human beings with real imperfections.
And that is scary.
We can’t have people thinking we are anything less than perfect, can we?
Take the current state of music, for example. We are under the impression that all we need to become famous is a webcam, a musical instrument and a YouTube channel. In some cases, that holds true (I’m looking at you, Bieber.) But in most cases, musicians do themselves a huge disservice by hiding behind an illuminated screen. Why? Because it’s the easy way out.
As Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl perfectly articulates in this interview, “You don’t need a f****** computer or the Internet or The Voice or American Idol [to be a musician].” You write really shitty songs in your room and rip up the pages until you finally settle on something you like. You play gigs, in front of real people. You play gigs where nobody shows up. You play gigs where tons of people show up. You have an off night and play horribly and totally embarrass yourself a dozen times before you finally get good. You get up on stage and you expose your heart to the world and you share beautiful moments with real, living people. That is something you will never, ever be able to do behind a computer screen.
But then again, that is the easy, less scary way. Just ignore the ever-growing comment thread beneath your video and your feelings will never get hurt.
We are under the impression that we can make it big by merely being ourselves. While individuality is beautiful and should be preserved at all times, is aspiring to be a viral Vine, YouTube or Instagram star a worthwhile goal? Should we rely on our humor, quick wits and outlandish actions to become the next Internet celebrity?
My answer is no, but you can make that call for yourself.
At the end of our days, no one is going to remember what we tweeted. What photos we Instagrammed. How we publicly embarrassed ourselves on video for the sake of views. They will remember their interactions with us. Our good deeds. Our character. Our morals.
I’m not telling you to smash your iPhone to bits and cancel your Internet plans. I’m not even telling you to stop using the Internet. I’m suggesting that we should look up every now and then and let the Sun illuminate our faces instead of an LED screen. Let our voices do the talking instead of our fingers. Embarrass ourselves. Fail miserably. Succeed epically. Be brave. Experience life the way we were meant to.
Keep the human experience just that — human.
Pixels will never be a substitute for flesh and blood.