My technological flag in the sand


Elon Musk just bought Twitter. It got me thinking about Twitter, something that comes up a lot, because a lot happens there in 2022, and some of that filters through to me.

I’ve long known that the day would come when I would just not be willing to accept some sort of societal change, and this would be what defined me as an old person. This isn’t some unique thing I’d be doing: this is a time-honored human trait. Previous generations have put their flags in the sand by rejecting polyphonic sacred music, rejecting automobiles, rejecting email, and rejecting smartphones.

Today I realized what my flag in the sand is going to be. I am not going to become active on Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook, or Myspace, or LiveJournal. I see no personal benefit to adopting the newer technologies, and I see a lot of personal benefits to avoiding them.

I’m not doing this because I think it’s just a fad that humanity will move past. No: now that we have it, and are beginning to realize how it actually works, we’re having to figure out how to use it responsibly as a species. This is a pretty familiar story for any new technology. I’m just deciding I’m not interested in being a part of that process.

At some point, some related technology will come along and sweep me up with it. It will be awkward for me, and young people will recognize that I’m just no good at it. They’ll wonder how any human being could be so inept at something so obvious. It will become a mental shortcut for the elderly that they are awkward with this technology, and the elderly will discuss how pointless it is and how they just can’t understand why anyone needs it. We’ll watch with some degree of sadness as our way of life dies with us.

When you hear writers and philosophers talking about how limited lifespans are a gift to humanity, they’re talking about this sort of thing.

I hope y’all have a nice time :)