i can carry everyone i love in one phone application
built to optimize the facetime with the ties i’m bent on making
actually i want to be alone
to mourn the loss
of what this cost
i collected you but now you are all lost
— The Thing About Things
Yesterday Amanda Palmer posted a song she’d performed for the first time last week. It hit me right in the feels and left me sobbing into my pillow. A tweeted at her:
It’s true these words. Some of them, are thoughts I’ve been struggling to coherently form. And others from the song were thoughts I’ve been needing to think. Things I didn’t know I needed. I want to tear my room apart and go over every little thing I’ve kept wondering why I’ve kept them all and cleaning out the things that aren’t real. The thing about things is that they can start meaning things no one actually said.
I could write for a long time about this entire song, but I want to really look at this one verse. It shows the triumph and the failure of being connected at all times. i can carry everyone i love in one phone application / built to optimize the facetime with the ties i’m bent on making. We’re always connected to the people we want to connect to, the people we think we might connect to, the people we wish we could connect with. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. We pour our emotion into apps and hope that something human comes out. We don’t sit in silence, we flick our thumb down the screen pulling the refresh from the ether. We don’t want to miss a chance at something great and while we’re glued to a 4 inch screen the world around us keeps going.
actually i want to be alone / to mourn the loss / of what this cost. We don’t look up. At dinner we’re glued to our screens, on the bus, in between meetings. We forget to see the people next to us. The connections we’re bent on making fizzle for all our efforts. We collect our memories, our ideas, our friends, our idols in our phones, in our computers, on our TVs and Xbox’s. i collected you but now you are all lost. We put things away, each in it’s own app. Organizing as to keep connected. And in forgetting to look up, to see someone, really have that moment where you say ‘I see you’, we’re connected yet lost. We lose.
Social media is a tool, full of potential. I’ll be the first to go off about how great it can be. I’ll also be the first to say I wish we could quit it because we’ve forgotten how to be human. So many people don’t connect their worlds across digital and physical worlds. We act as if they’re different places where we can be different things. And maybe they are, maybe sometimes it’s good to pretend so we can find out who we really are. But when we sacrifice our humanity, our connections to others, that’s where we fail. We try to keep connected, but in the barrage of media we become over saturated and we lose. For all our connections we connect less. We don’t look each other in the eye. We try to collect what we think is important and in holding on to things we don’t see what really is important.