The future is here, and it scares me.

Wow I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted!

Well, at the beginning of the month, I went to New York for a business conference. Yes, I really am that important that I got sent to NYC for business. (But not so important that they paid for a hotel–thanks for the hospitality, Hannah!)

And then I went on a delicious trip to Costa Rica with the very same friend from whose hospitality I benefited in New York. We had a great time doing all sorts of touristy things without feeling like tourists. Snorkeling, surf lessons, canopy tour, beaching it, exploring! The town we stayed in was called Montezuma; really a very lovely place where every restaurant served a batido (smoothie or shake), it had a very international feel to it as hardly anyone in the town was actually from Costa Rica, and clearly I had somehow forsaken the Montezuma gods because boy did they get their revenge on me. The night before we left Costa Rica I came down with an awful bout of food poisoning that lasted over 3 days, and if it weren’t for Hannah, I don’t know how I would have made it from San Jose to her apartment in the Lower East Side.

So I think what we can take away from all this is that Hannah’s the best.

Now that I’ve been back, I’ve had a meeting almost every single weeknight, obviously leaving very little time to blog (are my excuses working?). I have been giving much thought to several things, never knowing exactly which one I should write about, but I think I’ve settled on one: my new iPhone.

I got an iPhone on Saturday and my life is forever different. I’m not sure this is a good thing.

It was a good thing Sunday morning when I woke up, and while I usually would have taken the time to turn on my computer and check my email, and inevitably would have spent an hour and a half on the internet wasting time, instead I just checked my email on my phone and moved on with my day. It was also a good thing Sunday afternoon when I could show off my adorable nephew by taking a picture at his 1st birthday party and posting it to Facebook in a 2011 minute. I can now be one of those people with a “Mobile Uploads” album.*

I can also now be one of those people who posts square photos evoking the 60s and 70s; blown-out, blurry, or oversaturated prints with a white or black trim, but then I found out the Hipstamatic App costs money and I decided it would be too, I don’t know, hipster-y to PAY for DIGITAL pictures that looked as if they were poorly shot on film.**

The only reason I bought an iPhone now instead of waiting a year when my contract would be up was because of Twitter. I have a personal interest in Twitter insofar as it helps me professionally. It was also one of my S-M-A-R-T goals that I discussed with my boss at my biannual evaluation, which means I really had to bite the bullet and cough up the dough (and, as it turns out, the time to keep up with the whole goddamn thing).

I know what you’re thinking: who cares about Twitter? And I mostly agree. It’s really just for businesses, the media, celebrities, and PR people.*** Well, consider me a business. My business is my brand, Get Cultured (LIKE IT ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Get-Cultured/189282707750971), and I need to build my brand. I already do it on facebook, but now I do it on Twitter (FOLLOW ME AT @ArielaGetCultrd). The biggest way this works is that by following other arts programmers in the city and making myself a Twitter contender/player, hopefully they will help to publicize my stuff to their audiences, and that’s how I can get more Get Cultured attendees.****

Twitter can also help me professionally in the future. As my brother-in-law (who does PR) pointed out, it gives you direct access to people you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to contact…which means (theoretically) more job opportunities.

Moving on from my thorough and impenetrable defense of Twitter, my only declared reason for buying an iPhone, my iPhone scares me. I don’t trust myself to control it instead of letting it control me.

When I’ve had to wait for someone, I’ve taken out the phone. “It’s new and I want to play with it,” I tell myself. I hope that I won’t one day lose the patience to wait. Just wait. Think thoughts. Even nighttime drives home tempt me; my loneliness calls to be satiated by checking my inbox.

The iPhone also makes all these noises. I can’t remember which noise means what! I hope it’s a text message…and then it just turns out to be a calendar notification.

In that sense the iPhone only disappoints. In the past 10 minutes, there still isn’t anyone who wants to email or text me? How degrading to be constantly reminded that no one is thinking of me.

The iPhone has also confused my sense of reality. It’s a computer, not a phone, and it wasn’t until I got one that I really understood that. I now go through my life moving from computer to computer. I now use 3 computers daily! 3 computers used exclusively by me! Isn’t that inane???!?

Today my friend posted an article link on Twitter. I read it and wanted to respond with my thoughts. On Facebook I would just comment. If she had emailed it to me, I would have emailed her back. But with Twitter, I can’t comment back without everyone knowing, and seeing as it’s a personal/professional account, I really don’t want everyone seeing what I’m reading and what I think about it. “Should I just email her my thoughts?” I asked. It felt weird to respond in a different medium than the one I received the message in, so I ended up keeping my thoughts to myself.

I feel pressure to limit my iPhone usage as much as possible and I simultaneously feel anxiety about all the iPhone opportunities I am not only missing out on, but don’t even know exist. The iPhone is wreaking havoc on my life, and don’t even get me started on the stress of keeping up with Twitter.

I’m hoping this is just an adjustment period, and that in a few days or weeks, a new status quo will emerge. It scares me to be constantly connected.*****

* As of today, I’m not.

**This reminds me of my interest in the dichotomy in the high demand for both the super-crisp photos of an SLR and the nostalgic prints epitomized by Hipstamatic. What does that say about our society?

***If you are a PR Person, there’s a danger in overestimating the power of Twitter. It’s such a competitive, that-was-so-two-seconds-ago medium, that you can get sucked into thinking all this effort you’re making to keep up with all the other tweeters is really important. It can make you feel like you are in-the-know and, well, popular, when really its scope is very narrow. There’s a lot of people on Twitter, but there are way more who aren’t and never will be.

****Want proof? Last week my “Weekly Facebook Page Update,” which delivers me stats about the Facebook Pages I administer, told me that I had 530 montly active users on Get Cultured, up 20 from the week before. This week, 3 days after I joined Twitter, that number went up to 907.

*****There’s a film coming out called Connected by Tiffany Shlain who’s super into social media (I follow her on Twitter). The film will play at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and I am considering flying up to SF that weekend, mostly to see her film. I’m not sure if my interest is ironic or not, but I think it might guide me to use my iPhone in a positive way. Check out the trailer: http://connectedthefilm.com/.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The future is here, and it scares me.

  1. Jess

    I would definitely go see that film with you!!!

    • Hannah

      By the way, try the app Instagram — it gives you the old hipster-y photos, ability to share, and it’s free..so problem solved!

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