Last night I shared a quote on Instagram that said... 'Remember when we used to say "brb" all the time when we were online? We don't say it anymore. We no longer leave. We live here now.' It was meant as a joke and I had initially shared it, as I do with so many quotes, because it had caused me to start getting nostalgic for my days on MSN Messenger after school and a phone thats battery lasted for nearly a year. But then I started to think about it, as I relentlessly checked the notifications popping up, and I realised that this was a total NOKE (no joke), now I really do live online, and I'm not alone in my new abode, I'm in a commune with the rest of the world.
And that in itself is worrying. Because my space was not originally supposed to be shared with everyone. We weren't all made to get along with each other, it would be nice, but if we're honest, it's not entirely plausible. The point of our lives really is to fill them with people that we love and people that we need and people that inspire us, not with total strangers, with whom we have nothing in common, barging in. But then the internet happened and now I, now we, all have access to the lives of whoever we so choose. Privacy, patience, space... it's all gone.
Most of us, in our home lives, or family lives at least, try to stick to certain rules when it comes to our phones, we don't take them to bed with us anymore (or try not to) and we try not to bring them to the table.... unless of course there is some like totally HUGE crisis that we just MUST DEAL WITH RIGHT NOW. I do it all the time, one eye on my screen with one eye on my mum, and she's fine with it, because she is either doing exactly the same thing or, is understanding of the fact that I am probably working. And to a degree, I usually am. My blog is my life and all of it comes to my phone. I haven't got an office per say and I never really clock off, so even if I only checked my phone with the intention of replying to a text, before I know it I'm scrolling through Instagram in what is actually a 'work' capacity. And although my case is slightly unusual on account of the fact that my job is almost entirely social media based, I know that I am not alone with my online fixation.
If we take photos on our phones now, we do so via Snapchat so as to immediately share then with the world, we remember a friend's birthday, to Facebook we head and we want to gauge the reaction to a major news story? Well Twitter is the answer.
And I love it. Which is just as well, because even if I didn't, there would be fuck all that I could do about it.
But that doesn't mean that from time to time, I don't find myself longing for the days in my childhood in which my flip Motorolla phone was the only contact I had with my friends after school, and the hours that I spent on MSN Chat with boys that I rather fancied. The days that, when my mum would call me in for supper, meant that I had to tell my mates, or my crush, that I would 'be right back.' The time when a phone wasn't an absolute necessity when it came to leaving the house, when a computer was plugged into a wall in one room of the house, a time when 'offline' was actually a thing.
Despite the fact that, as we have established, I am always on my phone, I can be quite bad at actually using it. I often, hopelessly, forget to reply to my messages and most of my friends and family have long since established that if they did want to talk to me, they should ring. When I receive long messages, I often find myself too overwhelmed to reply and after a certain amount of time on Facebook Messenger, I find myself losing patience, which makes me disinterested, which of course, makes me rude. My friends can see when I'm 'online' (which obviously is all of the time) and so really there is no excuse for not replying. We're just expected to be there, which if we're honest, is quite a lot of pressure. Which is why I think that it is okay, from time to time, to say BRB.
"I've gotta hop off, Alex is just starting a film BRB"
"Sorry, BRB, Mum has just made my dinner.. BRB"
"LOADS of work to get done, BRB"
No shame in leaving your phone for an hour guys, even less shame in telling the world about it. We're so used to multitasking and taking our friends with us everywhere we go, we see this as something totally rude and alien. But it's not, it's fine, it's important.
The internet isn't going anywhere, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't, at least during dinner...