Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Small Pleasures in the Digital Age

The more technology grows, the further we become disconnected from people- or so conventional wisdom grows.  But I think if that’s the case, it’s only because we’re not using the technology the right way.  In many ways, we can cut ourselves off from other people by becoming more adept at sharing our thoughts and opinions to a much wider array of people.  Look at the guy who tweeted Shit My Dad Says.  His account (and the book he eventually wrote) became a crappy TV show on CBS. 
But I do think tweeting is the way of the future. And while it seems like Not Social Networking is the new Social Networking, there are so many simple joys it can provide us. Ignoring people who aren’t really your friends on Facebook, for example.  But as far as the more active uses for these products of the Web 2.0, one of my favorites is definitely watching a big sporting event while on Twitter.  In fact, any event whatsoever provides endless enjoyment from a variety of personalities who will criticize or lampoon anything or everything.  It's really like you're there watching a game with all your friends, wherever they are.  And some of your friends are celebrities.  At times it has even clarified situations at times for me.  The Oscars, for example, gave me the FunnyOrDie people’s tweet that “every time Anne Hathaway references an at-home drinking game, you have to drink all the alcohol in your house.”
Probably the best way to keep up with this coming wave is to get an iPad.  An iPhone, like I have, would work quite well for those who do this frequently.  It’s less cumbersome than an laptop, but also looks less toolish than an iPhone.  It will probably make you squint less, too. As for playing games, though, I would have to recommend the smaller device.  Speaking of which, you know what a fantastic game-playing device is that’s going to be forgotten soon?  That’s right- the deck of cards.
I’ve been noted as a very slow shuffler- but the important thing is that I can shuffle.  I can also confidently start a game of cards.  For me, that game is usually Presidents and Assholes.  I have been playing this game since before I knew it was also a drinking game, and I honestly have played almost every version of it in the five state area.  Six states, if you include Illinois.  The idea is to get rid of your cards first, whereby you become President, but I hope most of you knew that.  In some places you can lay doubles on singles and so forth, in others you can just give away your twos if they’re your last cards.  But the rule I insist on playing with now, that’s revolutionized the game for me is Socials.  You ought to be able to complete the set of four (if you can) whenever you can.  And…drink.
But what’s become so under-rated in the digital age, I’ve found, is going out to things.  You never really know what you can find when you look around.  This past fall there was a Labor Day bluegrass festival down at Minnehaha Park, which was really enjoyable- highly recommend the band Sawtooth!  But even just getting out instead of watching from screens will put you in a better mood.  If you can say I Was There (or tweet it, or Facebook it), you were really part of that thing happening.  You can even go on ESPN Passport and tell the world you part of it.

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