Patton Oswalt had an incredibly visible Twitter presence until June of this year. He spent his time telling jokes, getting crap for telling jokes, joking that he’d made jokes that would’ve gotten him crap, and getting crap for those jokes. He needed a break from all the crap, so he took the summer off, and now he’s back to tell us what we’re all missing in the real world.
He’s been joking about getting back into the swing of things after only retweeting and writing a few brief tweets about major events over the summer.
Putin on the ritz lol Shit, wait. Yeesh, I’m rusty…
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) September 2, 2014
Oswalt wrote a piece for Time about how his life was over the summer without Twitter. As you may have guessed, he had just the “oh my God, my head is capable of pointing forward instead of down at my phone” realization you’d expect.
The second and third week weren’t much different, but … they weren’t the same. A couple of times, in line at a grocery store or coffee shop, instead of taking out my phone to stiff-arm the creeping ennui, I’d look around instead. At the world. At the people around me. Most of them looking at their phones. We now inhabit a planet where the majority of the population is constantly staring downwards, entranced, twiddling like carpenter ants. Do pickpockets know they’re living in a second renaissance?
But he also noticed something else: Most of the other people he saw who weren’t staring into screens weren’t adults around his own age as the common “those damn kids and their cellphones!” thinking goes. No, he noticed that he was far more likely to see young people taking the time to look around.
They don’t remember the endorphin rush of sudden connectivity, like when people my age first logged onto dial-up Internet and, after 10 minutes, sheepishly searched for their own name. Or the first time we received an email. And when those things happened on our phones? It was like the apes touching the monolith at the beginning of 2001.
He suggests that maybe everyone is wrong about kids spending too much time with technology (shocker), and maybe the next social revolution will involve deliberately cutting oneself off from today’s constant-connection society. That sounds pretty great, even though I think he just invented the Mega Hipster.
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