There is a British Dr Seuss on YouTube named Gary Turk who thinks the Facebook app on your mobile means you’re a sad, miserable bastard who’ll die alone. His clip Look Up is a cross between The Notebook and Green Eggs and Ham. The anti-social media campaign acknowledges the fundamental truth that humans are interactive creatures by use of simplistic rhyme and a sentimental montage. For those who prefer their critiques more complex and objective, Stephen Fry offers an empirical interpretation, “Technology is like a mirror, if an idiot looks in you can’t expect an apostle to look out”.
In the imbedded interview, 54-year-old Fry rattles off a continuous stream of brilliance, offering wisdom with a kind of bright enthusiasm generally reserved for the young. He calls social media a reactivation of democracy. With every one of us a potential citizen journalist on micro-blogs like Twitter, politicians have to be far more careful. The Internet’s a tool, not intrinsically good or bad but at your disposal to serve a chosen purpose. If you feel alone and misunderstood while surfing the net, that says a great deal more about you and your ability to communicate than it does about technology.
“I have 422 friends, yet I’m lonely. I speak to all of them everyday, yet none of them really know me” Turk muses. Clearly the Internet is a vast and lonely plain for him and plenty of others, but for Fry the landscape is far less bleak. Fry chooses to celebrate the knowledge that kids today “just regard this as natural, that human beings who have fellow interests, connect. And that’s a miracle, it’s a wonderful thing.” It makes you feel like an ungrateful little shit when Fry recalls a time closed gay teens living in rural towns with homophobic families would have basically zero support network. Thanks to the Internet even budding football players born into families of travelling ballerinas can find their people.
The moral of the story is, if you did stop playing on your phone long enough to get married and reach the point where your significant other has Alzheimer’s and needs a daily reminder of who they are, their Facebook timeline is going to come in handy.