Hello out there, our lovely “A” from LA Snark’s T&A Do LA column has been swallowed by her job.
In the meantime, I, the “T” will share with you some observations I make about the entertainment we’re dished— and this week about tech stuff in general. To Tele & Film Universe (TOFU: Where you can get a side of estrogen with your entertainment) and beyond.
And yes, I know tofu only has plant estrogen, but go with it here.
I grew up around the Amish, really- horse drawn buggies were a regular siting from my school bus. The Amish- they don’t have to worry about having the latest gadget, checking their email while mobile or being up to certain trend standards to keep up with the creative world’s demand to be with it, connected and engaging. Now-a-days you have to have the gear, and now you also have to have the numbers for people to, ahem, take you seriously. They want you to have your own “platform”.
When I graduated from college, I began my stint in the major English speaking cities of the world, you know- where the glitz and glamor are and where I thought the most creative people were. I’ve wondered when this stint would stop. I’ve often considered the “simpler life”. Why when I live where there are major art opening, parties, premieres, etc.? I’m a country kid who moved to the city, so my mind drifts back to my more humble beginnings.
It doesn’t work the other way around. I’ve known people who grew up in Manhattan or in Los Angeles- put them where it’s quiet and they go insane. They look like they might implode. Now, couple that with this whole “Generation Connected” thing. People cannot “disconnect” even if you physically move them away from the swarms of humans that inhabit metropolises.
I’ve been trying. I hide out with my dog and computer more often now than I attend things I’m invited to- call me lazy. This past year I had to fly abroad for a conference. I brought my old PC laptop. I got funny looks. I had one of those pay as you go mini-cell phones. I got more weird looks. The thing felt like a child’s toy. In Los Angeles, I still drove my 12 year old car. It ran great.
I’m just one of those people who doesn’t feel the need to update all the time (except that I stay up to date with social media trends because that interests me- human behavior wise). I buy cars and then drive them into the ground. I don’t lease cars or trade in my electronics for the latest and greatest. I wear shoes until they fall apart.
When I did have to attend openings and soirees, I would be embarrassed to valet my old car named The Bruiser. Because I got a place with a garage, The Bruiser’s retired now after years of LA street parking. It’s just how it is in Los Angeles- it’s just like in Swingers, the movie, where people judge you by your ride. Apparently people judge you by how much “reach” you have now too. Even people like Oprah Winfrey and Chynna Phillips have to collect followers (the new widgets) to show enough people like them. So, “it’s a numbers game” rings true. You have to keep updating them, getting more.
Remember when being non-transparent was fun? I had to get my first cell phone in New York in the late 90s because I had to be online at home for work, so my landline was tied up. The company paid for my cell. If I didn’t have to work, I would’ve preferred to be able to leave my house without anyone knowing where I was.
I still relish the days when I could call my mom from a payphone from another state on some sporadic road trip and tell her I was really in my dorm room studying. There are things kids today just can’t get away with anymore. There are tracking devices and truancy monitors in school uniforms. This changes human development all together.
Today, people have to be “seen” online being somewhere cool, with other cool people. I wonder if my life would’ve turned out very differently if Twitter was around when I was more of a social animal.
It used to be cool to be a recluse if you were creatively inclined. Now, people who plaster their face and videos of themselves online seem to get ahead in life. It’s what they call “personal branding”. And to be an effective personal brander, you have to upload so many photos a day, be on this or that sharing site/app.
I still don’t want to give up my pseudonyms. My boyfriend pointed out a great thing to me- what’s going to happen to those out there who are painting or writing in cabins in the middle of nowhere? If it’s not online, does it exist anymore? There’s definitely a huge shift in how people have to work. You have to be a “pusher” of your own stuff. You have to make people want it, “build a platform” as I mentioned earlier.
Can you be creative and immune to being your own publicist until you “make it” in this current era? “Adapt or die” is a phrase I’ve seen around a lot recently. This pertains to the television/streaming content convergence. The Amish are still here. They didn’t adapt, but I am. Death of privacy is where I think we’re headed. Our brains are filled of having to be here or there, if not in person, then definitely online.
Our future presidents are out there now, posting their feelings and photos of themselves on the Internet. Future campaign strategists are getting glimmers in their eyes.
This past year, I got a wild hair up my butt and I overhauled. “A” gave in and got a smart phone a few months before I did. She has a regular respectable day job, so she’s not about to go posting too much about herself with her own name and photo online. She’s a country gal too. I caved and got an iPhone. With this, I felt the need to be on Instagram, to keep up with the youngins. Then I got a Mac. Then I got a new car that has all of its hubcaps. Not one to have kept up with the Joneses for the last decade, I swear this is as far as it goes.
I’m not one of those people. I will not affix an Apple sticker onto my car so people know what computer I use. I refuse to be a walking billboard. I’ve been a resister. A good female friend of mine told me about her best guy friend- how he won’t give up his PC laptop and drives an “uncool” car and basically doesn’t give a ______. That was me- proud to be a dinosaur who could talk about Twitter (who only tweeted from home). Being like that was so liberating.
Now, I’m one of you- I’m not Neo-Amish anymore and I’m actually slowly beginning to like it. I do however like that I don’t follow twenty thousand people on Twitter – seriously, how could you read that many tweets and know your peeps? I have about as many followers as people I follow.
I’m still very proud that I think I’m of the last generation to make mud pies and climb trees and fall out of them. For the last couple decades, kids in elementary school have been able to build their own websites. I hope they don’t forget to take the time to go outside and get scraped up, instead of just getting injured from worrying what people say about them online.
I’d love to hear your feelings about being tech-shamed and what pushed you over the edge to “get with it”.
Here’s a picture someone took of me once. Does this help- writing stuff and showing yourself?