Friday, April 26, 2013

Life on the fast lane

When I look back at my childhood I remember having a pen pal living in Eureka, California and an other one living in Scotland. I wrote them letters by hand, not on the computer, and I sent them by mail. It took a while till their letters reached me, but I had something to look forward to. Waiting for an answer, what might be in the letter? What will she tell me? I was excited and when the letter finally arrived, I opened and read it, and reread it. But what happened to that? People send emails and texts, they don't have to wait for an answer that long. Once they sent a message, a few seconds later their phone blinks or makes a sound, and ta-dah there is the reply.

These days everything is fast, you have no time to rest, and no time to waste. We are all busy and we are always a step ahead. Yesterday at college our lecturer told us, that we can only do something well when we are completely present and aware of what we're doing in that very moment. Only when we pay full attention to it, we can reach the best results. But the problem is, as I said, we're mostly a step ahead. He explained it that normally when we sit we should just sit, when we stand we should stand and when we walk we should walk. But how is it really? When we sit we already think about standing and when we stand we already think where to go.

spend some time with your friends and family
picture by D. Sharon Pruitt
Many people don't allow themselves taking some time, they say: we don't have time for this, no time for that, they are all in a hurry all the time. Everything has to be fast. Sending a letter is for many people a waste of time, because till it arrives and till they get the reply, well that all simply needs too much time. So they grab their phones, type just a few words, but don't waste time writing full sentences or even complete words, and click the "send" button. But by doing that, they already think about the next message they have to send, then the meeting with the boss, then the birthday party of their kid. They are always a step ahead.

Working and doing stuff is great, but imagine a world without waiting. Would it be really that great like many guys think? Is it important that everything is that fast? Is waiting really that bad? When you're waiting till a good book will be released, waiting for a new song to come out, waiting for the new episode of your favorite TV show, waiting for the letter or a phone call or meeting your best friend or relatives again who you haven't seen in a while. Isn't it great when you can take time and wait for something to happen? I guess for soon-to-be parents pregnancy is something very special, when they wait for their kid to fulfill their lives. Imagine there would be a app for your phone and you click on it and ta-dah, your baby is there. As much as you want to meet her, see her and hold her in your arms, you also want to wait, because waiting is part of the whole beautiful experience. 

And isn't it the waiting that makes so many things just easier? I just recently read "The Little Prince" and if you haven't you should do it. There is so much truth in it, and in my next posts I will write about them. When the little Prince meets the fox, it told him that it wants to be tamed because only then, when the Prince takes his time to tame the fox, it will be important to the Prince and the Prince will be important to the fox. Otherwise the Prince will just be one of many princes and the fox only one of many foxes - the time we spend with someone makes this someone special to us. But people have no time to meet new people, to get to know new things. They want everything fast, they buy online instead of going to a mall, they buy instant meals instead of cooking for themselves. But they can't just buy friends, because a good, deep and long-lasting friendship needs time, so many people don't really have friends.

Tame an animal and it won't be just an animal, but a friend
pic by D. Sharon Pruitt

It's even more impressive to read the "The Little Prince", because it was written in the 1940s and it's still relevant. People are busy at work, busy all the time, in a hurry, always a step ahead. But you live right here, right now, so take some of your time to rest, to spend it with your family and friends. Get to know new stuff, new people, don't be in a hurry all the time. Have no time for being in a hurry. Take time to be there for the people you love, and when you're with them, don't think about your next appointment or your job. 

And when you know you will meet someone at a special time, then you can wait for that moment to come. And you will extend your happiness while waiting.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Goodbye Privacy

Imagine you sit in a coffee shop and then you see this amazing guy. What do you do? Check Facebook if you find him and some information about him? Or do you even just use a simple app and write something on his own Facebook page, so he might notice you? This is possible if you use an open WiFi hotspot like the one in the coffee shop for surfing the internet. You only need a special app on your phone and then you can post something on someone else's site in her name. You can also read her emails or fill her shopping cart while she's shopping on Amazon.

We wanna look closely, but what do we expect to see?
pic by Beverly & Pack
The development is vast. But as good as technology is right now, there are also many risks. Just last week, while I was watching Modern Family, I thought of that again. They wanted to sell a house to a special customer and because no other guy was interested, they used all kinda social media sites to figure out what he likes and what not, that they can decorate the house just the way he wants it. But at the end, Cameron talks about the dog door they made, and he said that it would be perfect for his dog Otis. So that confused the guy: total strangers know that he has a dog named Otis.

How would you feel in such a situation? Someone you never saw and met before knows everything about you. That's the price a celebrity has to pay. She is followed everywhere she goes, and then there are pics of her on the internet, pics she's not even aware of were taken and published. And people come to her, kissing and hugging her, talking like they would know her for years. Some "fans" follow their stars to get closer to them, they wanna know everything. But imagine someone follows you and no matter where you go, you can't be sure who's watching you. Scary, isn't it?

Some people post everything on Facebook. Last week I talked to a friend that maybe in 50 years our grandchildren can read what we did these days. Like my grandchild will come to me, say: Granny, 50 years ago, you were in that coffee shop with this handsome man, remember? And I will just look at my sweetie kid, wondering if I ever told her about it. My friend said till then Facebook won't exist anymore, but I said that all the information won't be lost, they will still be on the internet, because what once was there, will never be deleted.

But why is it important to many guys to tell everyone every little detail like where they are? They write now I'm with Max and Milly at McDonald's, two hours later, the three are at Burger King, then Starbucks, or whereever, and some guys even post when they do their business in the bathroom. 50 years later his grandchild might be asking: were you successful? and he will probably just be confused.

is the next step that we all have a QR code and people can come with their phones, scan your code and know everything about you?
pic by Richard Cabrera
When last year college started and I added a few of my fellow students on Facebook, one was pretty scared when I knew her middle name and birthday. She was shocked, asked me how I know these things, coz it was our first week at college and she didn't tell me, and then I said it's on your Facebook page. So many guys are not aware that they put all these information about themselves on the internet. We become more and more like a glass. It scares us that total strangers know everything about us, but we make this possible. That's why I don't put too private things on the internet and why I don't use open WiFi hotspots. I don't want people to fill my Amazon cart with 5 TV sets, and then when I place my order I bought not only a book and a game, but also these 5 TV sets.

Now you say okay it's kinda scary when people know stuff about me, but I like to know stuff about new people, to figure out if I can like him or not. So when I meet someone I google him and try to figure out what he is like, to know the people he spend time with, and so on. Then I can decide if I really wanna know him in real life or not. It's just to make sure that he's not dangerous or something. But some years ago this wasn't possible, and isn't it better to get in touch with the real person and not her virtual accounts? I love to get in touch with people using the internet, but I still prefer to meet people in real life, that's how you really get to know someone.

Back in the coffee shop this man walks to me, tells me stuff about my family, knows my brother's name, where I live, knows my friends, where I love to be, what I love to watch and what music I like. It's like he knows everything about me, though I never met him before. No, you don't have to be a star anymore to be in such a situation. Luckily this didn't really happen to me, but thinking about it makes me shiver.

The amazing Garfunkel & Oates have a song called Google, singing about using the internet to find out as much as possible about someone:

Do you use Google to find out something about a person you just met? What information do you share on social media sites?

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