Welcome to 2011, the year of flying cars, full meals in pills and holograms instead of phone calls. At least that’s what every movie that took place in the future would have you believe. Instead of any of that, we have an endless amount of technology that we use to make things easier, but nothing we need per se. A phone that I use for internet, texting, GPS, guitar tabs, facebook, email, games, and pretty much anything else; while my anytime minutes barely hit double digits. From day to day, we encounter many different things and people, but given the calamity of actions in our hustle and bustle world, how often do we take these things at face value? Not to say that people can’t be trusted (we did that dance a couple SoM’s ago), but most people hardly say what they mean or mean what they say. Conversations have to be interpreted and decoded at Inception type levels, and unless you have the uncanny ability to read minds, things could get cloudy. Luckily, I’m here to break down the basis for almost every conversation you will have this year.
“I want your attention”. That’s it, for better or worse, this is what anyone you will ever interact with in the digital age is trying to say. Yes, this is a very simplified version, but truly, our voices and actions are competing with tiny machines that can connect you with anything the world can offer. I’m sorry, but last time I checked small talk can’t compare with Angry Birds. Instant gratification through digital screens has spoiled us. I pride myself on being one of the most charming people I know (screw it, sometimes you gotta toot your own horn), but I find myself having to turn it up a notch more than I’ve ever had to before because holding someone’s attention this day and age requires either a degree from Barnum and Bailey’s clown college, or an act of divine intervention. People with simple needs come off as refreshing or weird. I can count on one hand how many friends have a phone older than 2 years and no form of social networking. Those friends are the ones I can sit down with and talk for hours on end without a “ding” or “beep” of some sort taking them away from the moment. Taking a break from the dating scene was supposed to let me get back to being me, now I feel about as relevant as an AOL disc. I need my next couple bar crawls to be directed by Michael Bay just be sure that I don’t get the polite nod which leads to the phone check. So what is the average person to do you say? Well that’s where the title comes in.
See, we are now trying to get more info out of people in smaller increments. Things that used to be passing questions are now small seeds that are planted in the brain. “How was your day” has become, what is your mood, hopes, dreams, potential facebook status and trend topic. My psych degree has come in very handy in pretty much all social interactions recently. The term “upfront” has almost become a damned word. Usually reserved for someone who is being “mean” or “too forward”. I miss these people, and try to keep as many of them around as possible, but they are fading away. I hate having to trick people into conversations, but that is where we’ve come. “Conversationalist” might as well be replaced with “master manipulator”. I know this is coming off as somewhat hypocritical, as this whole thing will be posted on a website, but like I said, “I want your attention”. No one is fully immune, but how often can people say that they are where they are. Actually living in the moment they are in, appreciating the people they are with. Boredom used to be a problem that needed to be solved with interaction, or reaching for excitement, and we have lost that luster. We have forced those around us to basically lie. We can no longer complain that we feel that people are trying to get something out of us when we have boxed them into that corner. 140 characters is not enough to get my full point across, but when people only want to hear themselves, that’s more than enough space. People no longer want to know about you, they want you to ask about them. Getting to know someone has become a challenge of one-upmanship. Topics no longer organically flow from one into the other, but when people run out of good stories to tell containing themselves, they move on. Any good comedian will tell you, their best stories and material is told from the first person, but is rarely based off of something they did, it’s usually a friend it happened to, but the crowed wants to connect. Congrats folks, we’ve turned every social interaction into armature night at the Apollo.
Through all of my ramblings the point I’m trying to get across is speak from the heart voice you were given. Don’t hide behind emoticons and ironic tones. My first State of Mined for the futuristic year of 2011 is “Rustic”, while I still may tweet and status update, when I’m with people, I’m with them. I won’t have an ulterior motive to my actions or speech. I’m going to say more of what I think, and not the safe guided version that gets tepid answers. If I crash and burn; whatever, life is learning. I’m going to look the next person I talk to in the eye, and see what they have to tell me, and not worry how it relates back to me. Not like I didn’t do this before, but “be the change you want to see in the world….” I’ll never expect anyone to do something that I’m not willing to do myself. Speak up people, the one’s that matter want to listen.
Till next time,
Carpe Diem Kids