Remember telephones ?

I remember when I would ring a friends house circa 12 years old. I'd do it on a phone that was attached to a wall and know the friend's number off the top of my head, if I didn't know it I'd turn to the bulky old phone book and find their number the old fashioned way. I usually recognised the voice of the sibling or parent who answered and would tell them mine as a courtesy - "Hello Mrs Crawford it's James here". My friends would come to the phone, usually after someone yelled their name "Ben.... Ben.... BEN!... Phone for you... It's James from school". I would communicate with etiquette until I got my friend on the other end of the line (literally a line) and then illustrate with language. Now, I just plonk a picture on Facebook and get a little tingle when someone clicks 'like'. Today, 'liking' something is a conversation in itself. 

It all started with picture messages and emoticons, then social media, emails and maps slowly made their way in to my pocket. Now I'm chewing up my data on a mobile device just to write this... I even use an app to meditate.  

I suppose this ponderance came to me about a year ago when I spent 11 days, off grid, in the bush in Western Australia. Then it floated back into my mind during a recent technological detox on a farm in Cambodia (story here). 

Pause here for a second - Consider for a moment the impact the internet has already had on your life. Drift back to 15 years ago... Where were you? How did you communicate, organise your social life, plan your holidays? We've seen the internet and social media become a normal part of our everyday lives. We habitualised the process of digitally curating life and uploading it to the internet for all to see. Back in the day we would wait for the screeching of the modem to finish with a static hiss, which indicated that a clunky old door had been opened to the rest of the world. 

It turns out that the good folk down at SENSIS (not census) have been pondering how Aussies socialise online. The report shows that 4 in every 5 'Millennials' are logging onto social media at least once a day. We are officially glued to our screens at work, at home and in transit.

Social media allows us to create identities and stories online that speak directly to a version of ourselves that we want the outside world to believe. A photo of you posing triumphantly on a snow-capped alp, ski-goggled and holding their hands up in the air. Immediately the viewer is impressed, envious or even inspired to imitate your behaviour portrayed. Little do they know you couldn't ski, you lost a ski pole and had to pay the hire company $36 for a new set and you uploaded the picture whilst sitting on the toilet. Fun fact from the SENSIS report - 12% of the time Aussies are social-media-ising at home is whilst seated on the throne.

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