How the stupidest technology can catch on
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Feb. 24, 2015
This is not a criticism of any individual or organization, but rather the designs that come from an embarrassing collective demand. I’m talking about technology such as the selfie stick. You know, the elongated pole that people use to take pictures of themselves. Honestly I don’t mind it, the same way I don’t mind someone wearing a fanny pack, or socks and sandals. We can all do whatever we want; however, I’m surprised that technology has gone from innovative to awkward.
I’m as comfortable implementing hashtags into my social media posts as I am making cold calls on the phone. There is just something about the action that I still can’t buy into. For lack of a better phrase, when I do use hashtags to further my social media reach, I feel like I’m trying too hard. I feel like I’m trying to show off in an audition, I feel like I’m trying to get the pretty girl to look at me, I feel like I’m knotting a bow tie for a business-casual kind of party. I feel lame.
I know I shouldn’t because it is just technology, and hell everyone is doing it. In fact, some might say I’m stupid for not using selfie sticks to take my pictures and hashtagging my photos #SelfieStick on Instagram. Even that sentence caused me to cringe a bit.
For a while, I watched as some “fortunate” individuals walked around town with Google Glass on their face. They did whatever they did, smiling and explaining what they were doing while they were doing it, and it was all fun and merriment. However, one day Google Glass’s popularity plummeted and now I rarely see it around. Perhaps it was because those who were wearing it were deemed “Glassholes” and that led to problematic interactions. Like Bluetooth earpieces, you cannot look cool wearing it while walking down the street because you just don’t need it. You look stupid, arrogant, and lazy.
Technology, tools, and metadata tags are useful in situations where they are actually necessary. In my mind, there needs to be a purpose for something to be “cool.” It’s not cool hashtagging every word in your Twitter post, even if it’s done ironically, because that post will ultimately affect nobody.
However, if you are expressing your opinion, offering insight, or promoting something of value, then hashtags are great because you give someone who is searching #Cupcakes a place for them to find cupcakes, recipes for cupcakes, or your opinion on a brand of cupcakes. If you are driving a car, Bluetooth is wonderful. If you want to get a group picture without excluding someone, selfie sticks are the grand solution. And if you have other friends with Google Glass, it would be awesome to interact through that wearable platform. However, people are using technology for reasons that are beyond me, and that is why so many of us consider them lame.