Today, we’re going to opine a bit about how our phones and technology have influenced life as you know it.

There are tons of “articles” out there about this very subject – but this particular post is coming from a not “bought and paid for” journalist, or any kind of false narrative. It’s coming from a human being who runs a website about living near Route 22 in New Jersey.

And it is honest…

What drives people? What is your life?

Before technology – people just wanted to have a family. To propagate the human species. The family was the ultimate goal. Not some random thing, automobile, or object.

It was rare that people “touted” things like last place trophies or recognition. Just having, and maintaining a crime-free family was enough. Often, families employed their children to help out around the house, farm, or whatever environment the kids grew up in.

But disturbingly – I have to say, image and status seem to mean more today than real-world achievements.

Going against the grain here, we feel that this relatively new “social media” has done more harm to society than good. In a very fast way, too.

Why is it so bad exactly?

Well, for starters – the whole premise of “status” is a bad thing, to begin with – even without social media. “The Joneses” is a classic example. People in their own little neck of the woods used to “compete” with one another for whatever reason – to be “better.” Whether it was a better tractor, roof, wife, or car – people competed.

Social media makes it worse. They now compete with hundreds (or even thousands) of “digital neighbors,” as everyone tries to portray their lives as perfect as can be.

People now look for “confirmation” from external sources – rather than their own. You need to be judged properly by society to have any kind of presence. Take a look at the Black Mirror series of shows online – find it on your own. But those shows are more truthful than almost anything else you’ll see anywhere (beyond this site).

Social media taking control of your life – SAD as can be

We were in Princeton, NJ a week or two ago. We try very hard to like this city. It’s safe and relatively clean. People are calm, and the crime is next to non-existent.

But something is wrong.

The city seems dumbed-down. Passionless.

Last weekend, we spent several hours milling around. Frequenting shops and other retail and food operations. As well as public spaces, exhibits, and other free outlets.

99% of everyone. Each race, age, and gender – were ALL on their cell phones each direction we looked at any given moment. Sure, there were times we witnessed an individual or two who was not “engaged,” it didn’t take long before they pulled their “slab” out of some pocket to swipe one way or another.

It was like I was in the Matrix.

100 tries to be perfect

One particular standout moment of observation came when my family was just chilling out on some steps – I got to observe a mother and her two kids. She was very well put together. Definitely wealthy, based on the kinds of jewelry she had on her fingers and arms. (Either that or they were in deep debt – just a day or two away from foreclosure and homelessness…)

One – I first noticed her kids. Maybe between nine and 11 years of age. They seemed already programmed to the social media mindset (mirrored sunglasses, perfect hair, etc.)

Second – the “mom” was all about positioning her kids in perfect photos for HOURS. She was obviously creating a cache of “no one has a better life than us” montage. I could see it in all of their eyes.

They had no interest in simply ENJOYING where they were.

None of them. The quality of the picture – as well as the filter and text that followed, was of the utmost importance.


But true for much of society around us. Like a 24/7 Truman Show of facades that don’t really mean much when you boil it down. Soulless and hollow.

Whimsical oddities and unpredictability used to be part of life

What do you think that sub-heading means?

Back in the day – when “predictive programming” had barely even scratched the surface of the technological world – and was relegated to what was once called “human instinct,” we had interesting twists and turns all the time.

People had their normal days – but often encountered anomalies each day. Things that were deemed “interesting.” Like a nutty customer. Or someone who shared something profound with them. Or opened their eyes to a new viewpoint. And shared a new source of information never known before. And when you recollected with your core unit – you’d often have something to share. In person. In the flesh.

It was a story to tell. And that is what made it interesting. It wasn’t instant. And it was told from one human to another when the time came.

I see some people who can – despite the digital world we live in – still have the ability to tell an “old school” story, but it’s not the same. It will never be the same.

And yes – you can shoot me down, saying “evolve or die!” But that isn’t the point. It’s what is being LOST. Sure, the “parameters” are being changed (involuntarily), but that is what is important.

What was once personal and real – has become impersonal and remote. Gone are the nonverbal actions, reactions, and so on. You cannot tell (for real) if someone is acting honestly 3,000 miles away just based on the words the pecked.

Constant marketing

Marketing is a fact of life. You have to make people aware you exist. Especially for businesses.

Whether it’s word of mouth – advertising – visibility is key. And so is providing VALUE of some kind. Entertainment. Information. Usefulness.

But the limited attention-span, as well as the number of “channels” people now wander around in is overwhelming. We’ve almost (as a collective society) reduced ourselves to just micro-slices of some far-away pie in the sky.

And as usual – only a very few people float to the top of popularity. You can call them what you want. However, I certainly wouldn’t call most of them “good.” Perhaps they’re more taleented at human manipulation than anything else.

I look at most of the popular businesses, sites, and other entities – and I can only wonder “why?” are they doing well? Most of the time – I see places, people, and things – that I don’t want one single piece of. How is that? Why are so many others buying into it?

Dumbed-down society

My first – and most accurate guess is – that a giant majority of this so-called country is screwed up.

I could probably end this section on that sentence alone.

But it does need elaboration.

Many, if not most, of this country, is messed up because of the “influences” they’ve had. And most often – related to entertainment (music, movies, TV.)

It’s psychological programming at it’s finest.

The decades of television shows and “formats” (i.e., Idol, Real World, etc.) contributed to the mindset of the populous.

Everything was condensed. The conversation was limited to seconds instead of minutes or hours. Look at how even Presidential debates became sound-bites instead of hours-long discussion. Horrific.

So what is the point?

What I’m trying to communicate to anyone reading this – is that in order to assess your life – you really need to take a good look at how much technology has a role.

I can assume that most people – it is almost their entire lives. Take their phone away – and they are essentially useless.

Sure – there are many that can run their lives without – but something is still missing.

Also – this is actually helpful for me, as putting your thoughts “on paper” figuratively helps one think about them deeper, or maybe find new connections, etc. Plus, it kind of puts a time-stamp on your thoughts – as they often change over time. Perhaps these viewpoints will change in one direction or another in the future.

Additionally – as an online business, it’s very hard to do without technology. But my business life is one thing, and it is a bit troubling because it completely contradicts what I do personally. That makes promoting content here on social media somewhat challenging. It does not feel genuine. No matter how you coat the message – you’re in a sea of people and businesses all essentially begging for attention.

And with so many people who have harnessed the perfect psychological toolkit and figured out how to get a lot of attention – often get rewarded even when their content isn’t really worth anything when you look deeper. Almost any celebrity fits into that category.

We get the most out of our lives when technology (particulary the “social” kind) is as far away from us as possible.

More on this subject in the future – because not all technological advancements are necessarily bad.

About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.