Thursday, 30 July 2009

Digital Divide

I love stalkers…they make me feel at home. Kindred spirits we are. I really don’t mind if the world wants to stalk me. However, I do have one tiny problem with Twi-volution…those female followers that want me to take a look at their *ahem* “sexy pictures”. I call them Twammers (like spammers only on Twitter). But WTF? Thanks but NO thanks. I’m sitting here minding my own business, eating my cornflakes and there’s a million things I have to do, but looking at your hairy gwap isn’t one of them. And no I don’t care if you waxed or shaved. I don’t get my thrills out of looking at a strange (or worst still, familiar) muffs. In fact it nauseates me and makes me want to puke bucket-loads. Seriously. So yeah, fuck off. Thanks.

Are there no boundaries anymore? Is everything an undercover orgy? Did I miss something? Seems like we’re back in the Dark Ages when prostitution reigned. Only difference is that it’s all digital now.

Speaking of digital, I was running on the treadmill the other day when Patricia called from the office. Not wanting to miss her call or interrupt my routine, I answered while gasping for air. She rambled off some details and then asked me what on earth I was doing. I assured her that I was at the gym and not engaging in some pre-marital x-rated regimen, to which she replied that I should just marry my cellphone…a statement prompted by the fact that I spend a substantial amount of my day rummaging through Emails, messages, Facebook and now Twitter.

This got me thinking. It’s been a decade of solid technology savvy-ness in SA (maybe 2 decades around the world), but we’ve become so dependant and reliant on our gadgets that I can’t ever imagine life without it. That afternoon, I sat and tried to recall life in 1995…when I was an annoying teen in high school and the Mall was as far as I got travel-wise. Cellphones already existed but it was something you saw in the movies. At the time, the reality seemed like something in the distant future. Then all of a sudden it was the Big Bang, digitally speaking, and all of a sudden EVERYONE and their grandma had a cellphone including the poorest of the poor in the Shanty Towns and that 84 year old Aunty down the road that can’t see properly because of her cataracts.

And it’s just taken off from there. I can remember browsing through unlimited (and very slow) Internet during my second year at University in 2001. It was like swimming in a digital sea of knowledge (both accurate and inaccurate). I spent HOURS and entire WEEKS sifting through as much pointless information as I could…all for entertainment value. It was like a whole other world was opened up to me and I didn’t need Visas to visit, just a stable connection.

When I was living in London, I used to write LONG-ASS lengthy blogger-style emails to my parents, cousins, aunts and close friends almost every day, detailing all my shenanigans and the cute guys I met etc. Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that Mother was printing them out and giving a copy to anyone and everyone who enquired about me. And when I re-read a few of them, I wanted to DIE. That's my life right there, every embarrassing detail immortalised by the digital era.

Today, technology has become amalgamated into my everyday life processes…so much so that it’s difficult to know exactly where it begins and where it ends and I’m positively LOST without it. Even on my busiest day…the mother of all hectic days...I still spend a solid 2 hours online whether it’s on a PC or on my mobile phone. I spend an average of 4 hours a day online and can spend an entire day on the net and not even notice it. In fact, I can confidently state that 70% of my life is conducted online, with an equal 70% of my social life and relationships with family and friends sustained online too. Sounds pathetic I know. But it’s the truth. I conference-email those friends I have in cliques, as well as my close cousins etc…because it’s cheaper and I can’t conference-call them.

I do wonder though, where does it end? Imagine getting married online, then living out your married life with little cyber kids that grow when you feed them like those Tamagochi’s we played with in the late 90’s. I had to do a detailed study on Ambient Technologies sometime last year and was stunned at the developments and where it’s leading to. Then a few days ago, Richard Branson announces he’s taking tourists on the first celestial holiday, launching Virgin Galactic in roughly 2 years time. All of the participating tourists have already paid for their tickets at $200 000 a pop...chump-change for a space adventure. It all still seems so far away…unfathomable. But then again most of us never envisioned life as it is today, so different from a mere decade ago.


  1. u make me feel like writing again :) aw i loved my tamagotchi so much that now i don't remember its name :/

  2. nice post,

    I've had an Android smartphone to play with around 4 weeks now so I've had access to email, fb, twitter, and internet at any time of day.

    Now I have to give the phone back on friday and I wonder how I will go back to no internet, no GPS googlemaps, no access to twitter and having to rely on work or the internet cafe for checking emails etc.

    One thing I have noted though is that I rarely log onto fb now. Just can't be bothered especially since my cousins started trying to add me.

  3. You know, it's weird but I was thinking teh same thing. What woudl I do without my internet?

  4. Hey im giving two thumbs up to having an online marriage with little tamagochi type kids. It would fit in perfectly with my life! Crazy!

  5. TAMAGOTCHI?!! bastard things- get a real life thingy and then ya'll know.

  6. Noojie - My Tamagotchi always died...proof that I wasn't ready to be a Mother at 15 :P

    Mash - Any chance of you getting an Android and keeping it for life?
    I guess we're lucky here because it doesnt cost a fortune to go online from my phone...not like it did in the UK. Checking in on Facebook once cost me nearly 5 quid! Here its like 5cents - South African cents...which is like less than half a penny.
    & Oh dont be so hard on them...they are family after all :D

    Saaleha - Indeed, what would we do? I didn't have power for 2 hours this morning and I thought I was going to stop breathing LOL!

    Shameema - Can you imagine it. What with robo dogs, anything is possible these days. Sometimes it freaks me out a little :P

    Zahera - To get a real life thingy I'd have to get a real life relationship with a real life man lol!
    & Real life "MEN" are as rare and precious as yellow diamonds these days :)