Prepare yourselves, peeps. What you’re about to witness is some classic Word Up contrariness. Breathe deep and get ready for a spot of mind-melting as I try to explain the ever-tightening web of confusion I find myself wrapped up in.
But before I go further, please be aware that every single word cast here in ever-lasting digital stone comes as something of a communications contradiction. And aye, that’s a bit rich from one who’s up to her professional oxters in comms, but it seems to me that this contradiction is at the very heart of a potential pandemic for which there’s no cure, except self-denial.
Actually, a web is a very apt analogy to start off the weaving of this cautionary tale, because it represents entanglement of more than one kind. There’s the world wide variety, an interlaced digital network circling the globe, with it’s endless opportunities and possibilities. Then there’s the spider’s creation – beautiful and compelling, a feat of raw engineering and creative genius, but a deadly trap to boot. Same as the digital version, in fact.
Spider web drenched in morning dew. Photo by Greg Jordan, from Flickr
It’s this growing dependence on the world wide variety of web which is causing my on-going conundrum. It’s not just t’internet, but everything digital. Once you get stuck in there, it’s almost bloody impossible to set yourself free. Just like the spider’s deadly creation, this stuff’s so sticky and hard to shake off. Entire swarms of us (I include myself here) are now trussed up like insects trapped in a web, alive but barely shaking a leg, or lifting an eye from the screen.
Digital’s so utterly omnipresent, it’s got an almost tyrannical grip. Its insatiable appetite needs constant feeding with original content, and if you want to make even the tiniest impression (either as as human or brand, or mix of the two) you need to chuck yourself in there with gusto, despite the risks of entrapment. It ruins eyesight, posture and any spare cash, and takes up every spare moment. Like a digital diva, it demands to be shared and adored. Frankly, it’s bloody exhausting. But still, the pressure piles on to try and keep up. Even posting a once-monthly blog creates a cyber commitment which can ramp up the heat and the old blood pressure… Pathetic, I know.
And yet, still we soldier own with social, and all of its cyberspace sidekicks. There’s much to admire in this digital age, and I agree, it’s a technological marvel. But really? 24/7?
Nah, for me, the take-over bid has to be resisted, at least some of the time. Going in too deep and for too long makes you a hostage to fortune, and ain’t all that hot for one’s overall health. And beware, the digital tyranny’s enforced by an offshoot industry of henchmen and women instructing us minions how to get it all perfectly pukka. So c’mon folks, get your eyes off the screen at least long enough to question the digital rules. 6 Tweets a day or get thrown to the lions? Don’t be daft, you digital dogsbodies…
I know! What a cheek! Who am I from my digital eyrie, hunched over my screen, to cast contradiction and cyber cynicism into the megabit mayhem? Who am I, as a daily user of data and digi, to offer a few words of warning about the dangers of getting caught in a web? Easy. Just someone the same as almost everyone else.
Just someone trying to keep full blown addiction at bay.
Just someone on a ceaseless quest for digital downtime.
Just someone doing a delicate balancing act at the edge of the web.