Thought Catalog

The Digital Age

Being considerate can be a powerful tool in your daily and long-term struggle to not become an angry, jealous, out-of-control, earnestly depressed person who feels frustrated and cheated all the time.

I rarely saw him on ‘rec.arts.poetry’ thereafter either, although I think on one occasion like a year following our incident I searched his name on the newsgroup and found one extremely bad poem he had posted on the newsgroup [even at age 14 I knew it was an ‘extremely bad poem.’]

During this time the individual will have several windows open, generally several browser ‘tabs,’ a Microsoft Word document in some state of incompletion, the individual’s own Facebook page as well as that of another randomly-selected individual who may or may not be on the ‘friends’ list, 2-5 Gchat conversations that are no longer immediately active, possibly iTunes and a ‘client’ for Twitter.

The Top 8- a feature in which a Myspace user could rate their eight most important friendships based on who they liked better that day-literally destroyed relationships. At first, it was fun to have your 8 best friends hanging out next to each other on a website because, oh my god, you loved them and you wanted everyone to know it! But then it just turned into an evil passive-agressive tool.

But at their most lethally perky, the politics of enthusiasm are the Black Flag of the intellect, killing critical thought on contact. Consider the ubiquitous Favorite This button: How many favorites can we have? Isn’t “favorite” the Everest of our emotional lives, reserved for the acme of our enthusiasms? When everything is our favorite, nothing is our favorite.

Your bro IMs you being like ‘sup’ and you respond ‘hang on, I’m in the middle of something at work’ and they reply ‘lol.’ Or you get an IM like ‘how are you,’ and you go ‘I’m okay, sick of the rain’ and they reply ‘lol,’ or you say ‘I’m good’ and they say ‘lol.’

All the while, of course, I’ve left my gmail window up and active, where I can just see the very top tab of the screen where it says: Gmail – Inbox (9). And my eyes are constantly, desperately shooting back to that parenthetic number, hoping, waiting, praying for it to change, as if, the instant that my 9 turns into a 10, it’s an irrefutable sign that someone loves me, someone needs me, someone’s thinking about me, that I’m good and worthwhile valuable…