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viewpoint

Are you just showing people that you are having fun?

| Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I am often on Twitter searching for some philosophical enlightenment, because where else are you supposed to find it? My favorite tweet of the past month comes from up-and-coming producer and member of The Internet, Steve Lacy: “Are you having fun or just showing people that you are having fun?”

I am very excited for summer, ready to be done with this brutal school year. The year flew by pretty fast, and I haven’t been home since January. I am ready to get back to my city and be with family, especially my little brother, who has his eighth grade graduation at the end of May.

He is part of a generation that has never lived without Facebook, never without smartphones and no experience of an isolated summer at home.

Those summers were the best. The summers when you had no way to communicate with your classmates; instead you had to go outside and be a part of your neighborhood, reunited with your summer friends.

Nowadays you can text, Snapchat or Instagram in order to be connected to everyone around you. Sure, it is a wonderful development, a breath of fresh air to those who did not have that growing up. It is nice to check in on the people you care about who don’t live near by.

But I am worried about my little brother’s generation. Never have they had to meet up and go outside to meet new people and build those relationships. They haven’t been a part of a carefree time where no one knew what you had going on until the first day of school.

When these kids go on vacation, they make sure to add a post to Instagram or Snapchat with a new filter so everyone knows where they are. That’s great and all, but it is not the point of vacation — yet I fear that it is becoming a large piece of it. I noticed on my last family trip that as soon as we got to the top of a mountain that had a beautiful ocean view, the first instinct my brother and younger cousins had was to take out their phones and snap it.

That’s so bizarre to me. At no other time in history has the reaction to beauty and nature changed from a simple jaw draw and stare. But now it’s different.

Technology has changed the rules of engagement between each person and the world around them. Priorities have changed and communication has changed. Everything has been given a score and a point system. Life is becoming like a video game. I hope that the young people who haven’t had their life any other way don’t get too absorbed by the number of points they have.

So in the middle of summer, when you are on your dream vacation, relaxing and taking a break from the rush of school or just doing something you love, make sure to ask yourself: are you having fun or are you just showing people that you are having fun?

Maybe take a break for a bit and enjoy the the weather.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About R.J. Stempak

R.J. Stempak is a sophomore computer science major who enjoys basketball.

Contact R.J.