Essay on OUWAIS Technology Memoirs

Submitted By Abdulrahman-Albar
Words: 1326
Pages: 6


With the popularity of social media today, one only needs to look back a relatively recent decade or so, to see that the experiences faced by Gathman in her technology memoir “Cell Phones”, is one that bears a striking resemblance to the evolution of internet based social media. We see the introduction of an alien concept, hesitantly accepted, and then quickly assimilated into our everyday lives. From here on in, the technology then becomes an aid, a friend, a crutch, and even sometimes an enemy. We look back upon our technology of choice with both fondness and bafflement at how fast it changes before our eyes; and when in a detached manner looking in, for example, in an academic study such as this – astonishment at how much it takes over our lives. In this paper, I refer to the social media site “Facebook”, and compare it to the trials and experiences of wonder faced by Gathman with her cell phones. Indeed, in doing so, one is forced to ask the question – is Facebook real life? The advent of Facebook for myself was, exactly as Gathman describes, “an easy way to find fellow students on the spur of the moment colliding like lonely atoms in coffee shops and among the English language paperback racks at Kinokiniya” (Gathman, p.43). In my case however, I had just moved to America, and this (offically) was a practical way to keep in touch with old friends and try to make some new ones, whether Arabic or otherwise. To look back, it started with the Facebooks of the day - “Friendster” and then eventually “MySpace”. In those days about ten years ago, the thought of keeping connected with one's friends through computer technology was somehow more exciting than connecting with them in person. It is possible to put this down to the novelty of the personal computer about 10 – 15 years ago. Instead of going home after school to talk on the phone, my peers and I found ourselves rushing home after school to connect on Friendster. Those priviledged enough to have a computer then, were in an exclusive club whereby one could categorize friends neatly in a row according to how aquainted we were. This soon morphed into MySpace – what seems to be now, a clunky, slow, version of today's Facebook. If there was time left over after spending hours chatting with friends and viewing their personal photos and details online with MySpace, it was soon completely taken over when Facebook entered the scene. Like how Gathman explains the role of her first phone in Japan, “that interval of my life was simply past” (Gathman, p. 44). It seemed like no sooner had Facebook been introduced to me, the addiction set in and life was suddenly incredibly busy. Added friends had to be constantly poked and poked back, lest they thought me snobbish, and virtual gifts of little pixilated teddy bears had to be returned in kind lest I be “unfriended”. This was an interesting time to be experimenting with social media, as this was during my teen years and is a site which I frequent to this day, in my early 20s. For my friends and I, it is apt to say that Facebook became a perfect medium to find out more about our dream girls, research their favorite books and movies, make note of their political leanings and views on the world; and casually mention to them all our similar interests in common, the next time we accidentally bumped into them, on purpose. With those we were brave enough to start a messenging coversation with – I echo the sentiment of Gathman when she cites waiting by the phone and willing for it to ring and how “sometimes, I went to the Verizon web site just to look at the call log for my account” (Gathman, p.46). Reading, re-reading, and reading into messages became a habit, especially when those of relevance were involved. In this sense, Facebook in itself, would be like countless versions of Gathman's first cellphone, whereby “Tokyo sat trapped inside it: the ring tone that I'd so painstakingly programmed, the old text messages” (Gathman,