MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “Internet”

The dress and an escape from the truth

the dressIn the last week, we have been arguing over the colour of a dress (blue/black or white/gold?), have witnessed llamas run loose in Arizona, and have been baffled over a Senator’s questioning of the effects of climate change by tossing a snow ball as evidence.

All the while, it has been revealed that the masked Islamic State (ISIS) militant known as “Jihadi John”, seen in the videos beheading Western hostages, is a Kuwaiti-born British man from West London, while ISIS militants ransacked Mosul’s central museum destroying thousand-year old priceless artefacts.

Meanwhile, Eurozone countries continue to bewilder each other on account of their increasing economic problems, leading to internal strife, while the fighting in Eastern Ukraine is ongoing and getting worse.

It is interesting to how we chose to see as news what is more enticing and entertaining to us. The fact that conflict is rampant across the world no longer surprises or even affects us (unless we are in those impacted areas). Nor are we touched by the world’s financial problems, even though these affect our own economic state and employment status. These are things we seek to get away from when surfing the web.

Instead, we’ll click to watch Madonna fall at her Brit Awards performance, we’ll enter the worldwide viral debate on the color of that dress, and we will laugh at the videos of animals doing the weirdest yet cutest of things imaginable.

When we enter the world wide web, we seek to be informed, but at the same time entertained. Our attention span diminishes rapidly when we begin to read a long political analysis on the state of affairs – simply put, this is boring. We want something that draws our attention, that is quick and easy to read, and that is entertaining enough but enlightening at the same time.

We like to engage into quizzes on what your choice of wine says about you, for example, read the daily horoscope and cartoon strips, and be inspired by a quote someone famous said long ago.

What we don’t like, is to be reminded that nothing seemingly works as it should pretty much anywhere; that those who were elected to represent us are sometimes just as corrupt as the people they criticize and place behind bars, and that corruption and clientilism are two trends that may possibly never be transcended.

So we turn to entertainment. To momentarily forget the harsh reality and drift into a realm where all there exists are celebrities falling from grace, animals proving they’re smarter than us, and meaningless chatter on trivial issues.

We all need to get away for a while, and if this is the way to achieve some serenity of mind, then so be it. Just remember, The Dress is the colour you see, and all that says about you, is that you can at least see there is a dress.

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Disconnected

DisconnectedOK, who turned the modem off again?

Did the cat pull the cable or is the bunny munching on it again?

It was a usual day at the Thompsons’ house. Four people were all surfing the web, sending emails, or downloading videos on all kinds of devices – smartphones, tablets, computers, even on the television itself.

Can we call Carla again, mi hijo? I want to ask what happened with Juanita!” Even the grandmother had become accustomed to the wonders of a Skype call and she was really getting used to this technological marvel that brought people closer.

But today, there was a problem. Elliott was the first one to notice it. He couldn’t log on to the App store to download a new game and was beginning to get agitated. He had reached a level that was simply unsurpassable in all his existing games. He needed something new.

Jenna was also upset. She could not see the rest of her favourite reality show as the streaming was too slow and would constantly break up.

Charlie was complaining because he could not finish his work and couldn’t even send an email to warn of the delay.

Sandra was also yelling. She could not find anything else to do and had grown up with the Internet. From what she remembered, she had always lived a life online. How would she now check for social media updates? She felt extremely cut-off, isolated. “WTF!! It’s as if we’re back to the Stone Age!

Will, the father of the family had just got off the phone with the service provider. There was a technical problem and the Internet could not be fixed today. Efforts would be made to solve it as soon as possible, but tomorrow was the earliest that could happen.

Panic ensued in the Thompson house. “How will we ever survive?!” was the main concern of the youngsters, while grandma lamented not being able to see her sister in Columbia today.

Will was aghast. What kind of a world are we living in? We have no Internet and suddenly, life as we know it is gone? Do they even know that people had more of a life before the Internet? People in the Stone Age perhaps lived a more fulfilling life than we do today, he thought.

So he decided to try a different tactic with his digitally-addicted family. He dug out the box of board games that was conveniently stuck in a corner and was gathering dust.

He was shocked to hear that the youngest members of the family had never even heard of the likes of Scrabble, Monopoly, even Jenga. So he set on a mission to rectify this. It required a lot of patience and calming down the constant Internet complaints. He was determined to teach these new dogs, old tricks. He was sure that once they get past the fact that they all involved more than a swipe or touch of the finger, it would be fun.

He was right. They all, including Sandra, soon forgot about the screens they were so attached to and began laughing their hearts out when bricks fell, words were misspelt and money was lost while the players were sent to jail! “This is awesome! How come we never did this before?” wondered Jenna. Charlie looked at his watch. It was three in the morning but nobody seemed to care. “Just one more round of Jenga please?” begged Elliott. And alas, there was life beyond the Internet, and it was enjoyable too!

Surviving without the Net

mac-internet-sharingThere is a child in a pram holding a tablet. It can barely say two words but it knows how to swerve its fingers in order to play a virtual game. There is another one which needs a screen in front of it depicting moving images, so it can eat a spoonful of food. Then there are the older ones that have a smartphone stuck to their hands as if their life depends on it. There is a man who enters the swimming pool with a digital gadget in a waterproof case. And these are not unique cases.

We spend our days fixed onto a screen; a digital depiction of reality, while real life passes us by. We are so deeply addicted to this new-age “disease” that we cannot even imagine life without it. Without a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, or simply put, the Internet.

So much, that when you are found in a location with no Internet access, you immediately classify it as an uncivilized place – because, really, who in this day and age does not offer free Wi-Fi!? – and then you struggle to survive a few days without the one thing that has become an intrinsic part of your day. You can feel the withdrawal symptoms already kicking in in less than 24 hours. You desperately try to find a Wi-Fi network anywhere. Simply to log-on and surf the web. Just open a browser onto any page. To view anything. Simply to feel ‘safe’ that you are online, even for 5 minutes. To sense that you are in familiar space, no matter if that is virtual.

By the end of day one, your hands are already itchy. You are even considering knitting. Simply to keep yourself busy.

We have become so addicted to the Internet – that place where you can find literally anything – that surviving without it seems like balancing without a net. And as we become all the more connected and digitally forward, we become socially awkward network junkies. All the while, reality continues to pass us by, without us even noticing.

IITYWTMWYBMAD?* (or How the Internet created a new language)

ACRONYMS1Once upon a time, in this same galaxy and not far away, there was a period when the world had no internet, there were no mobile devices, no smartphones (not even not-so-smart-phones), no tablets, no PSP, nothing of the sort… Yes, that was possible and it did happen, although today hardly anyone can recall what that was like. The Internet and the ‘connecting people’ technology has taken over our lives to such an extent that now it is impossible to imagine a world without them.

But have you ever considered the impact that this new technology has on language? The very onset of the Internet itself sowed the seeds of a chat language that would soon branch out across all spectrums and propagate the already numerous cut-down words. Abbreviations and acronyms are used so commonly in everyday language, that sometimes you don’t even realize that you are using them. For example, e.g.  and etc. are two of the most commonly used acronyms; as are SOS, ASAP, RSVP, AKA; or even things we see daily all around us: Ave., Str., Blvd.  There are also the political ones: EU, USA, NATO, ECB, IMF, ESM, NAFTA, ASEAN, Mercosur, are a few examples. Then there is the computer language of jpegs, mp3s, pdfs, docs and all those types. And don’t forget to use cc. and bcc. when sending emails – although not literally carbon copies, they are still important!

Before broadband connections developed, during the early days of the Internet, users developed short-hand writing, mostly acronyms, to conserve bandwidth and to make typing faster and easier. A whole new language developed as a result, which rapidly progressed into SMS writing and all sorts of other written or verbal communication. It is dubious whether this has become due to a force of habit or because the next generation is getting lazier as it goes…

Internet acronyms (or slang) proliferate by the day. From the ‘oldies’ BRB, FYI, TLC (not to be confused with the BLT meal), THX, OMG, WTF, ICT, etc., there are a range of others sprouting all over the web, that sometimes you need to actually Google them to understand what they mean. BFF is the celebrity and girlish favourite, while LOL has so many variations it’s not even ROTFL funny! GR8 and L8R show how you can also introduce numbers to your speech, while IMHO (in my honest/humble opinion) is the variation of TBH (to be honest). Then there’s the frat (see? = Fraternity) favourite – BYOB – which can be widely interpreted as Bring Your Own Bed, or Bring Your Own Booze, depending on what kind of party you’re going to.  There are even some acronyms that take longer to write than if you spelt out the entire phrase in the first place: MIL-TFD-41 seems like a space formula, PMFJI for some reason springs a set of pyjamas to mind, while TANSTAAFL seems too much work simply to spell out that There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

All in all, we are bombarded by all these short-hand versions of words and phrases that are supposed to shorten the time needed to communicate the message, but sometimes that very msg is lost not in translation, but in comprehension – the time gained typing it is actually spent double in searching what it really means! So you see the Internet has created a new language. But we need to keep up with it, if we too are to evolve alongside it. Even businesses have caught up with this trend now – do you know the difference between B2B and BforB for example?

Well, TTYL then! XOXO

* If I Tell You What This Means Will You Buy Me A Drink?

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Generation XYZ

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