OPINION: The necessary evil of technology

Henry Palattella headshot

Henry Palattella

As I inch closer to graduation, I naturally find myself thinking more about my future once I leave the land of the black squirrels.

I know I want to go into either sports or feature writing — preferably an intersection of both. Regardless of the avenue I take, I know I’ll need to be plugged into what’s happening in the world, and the quickest way to plunge in is through one of the countless forms of social media. 

Full disclaimer: I have spent way too much of my life on social media. I’ve had a Twitter since 2011, and in that time, I’ve sent almost 28,000 280-letter quips into cyberspace.

When I first went on Twitter, I used it on a surface level, with most of my tweets lacking any kind of common sense (see my tweet from Jan. 15, 2012, where I simply said: “Someone should play words with friends with me.” Real riveting stuff.)

Recently, I’ve found my social media use is changing. I’m not just checking social media less — I still spend far too much time looking at videos of small dogs on the internet — but I’ve found myself saying less.

I’ve begun to notice, as my social media usage has swung from personal to professional, how much of what is said in the depths of the internet doesn’t mean anything.

One of the beauties of Twitter is how quickly it allows the spread of information and news. The fact that you can be in Kent, Ohio, but still know when something newsworthy happens in California seconds after it occurs is an extremely powerful and earth-shattering thing.

At the same time, people live their whole lives for social media, constantly sharing every aspect of their life online. There’s nothing wrong with sharing aspects of your life, especially if it’s something that makes you happy, like getting a new job or having a child.

But at what point are you living your life for social media? We all know that person who puts a whole concert or sporting event on their Snapchat story. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with taking a quick picture or video to save the memory, but after that, what’s the purpose?

I remember being outside Progressive Field two Octobers ago for the sgame 7 of the World Series, Rajai Davis’ game-tying home run creating a deafening roar I had never experienced before in my life.

Once I finally got my bearings (and caught my breath), I looked around and realized almost everyone around me was on their phone, filming in some capacity. It was a moment everyone there will never forget, but for some of them, it’s a moment that they’ll forever remember through their 5.44 x 2.64 phone screen.

Technology is an incredible asset to our society and everyday life, but at the same time, it suppresses us. I can’t help but think for every step forward we take, technology has us as a society take two collective steps back.

Hey, that sounds kind of clever. I might tweet it later.

Henry Palattella is the editor of The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].