On Technology​, Social Media, and First World Problems

I enjoy reading Susan Orlean’s New Yorker Blog, Free Range.  She is an insightful and intelligent writer who discusses a variety of high-minded topics – not surprising, it’s The New Yorker after all – in an approachable and casual manner.

On June 30, she posted an entry on the blog titled simply, “Problems.”  In it, she lamented that after tweeting a complaint that she “didn’t mind travelling for work but hated having to organize and file my expenses,” her words were mocked by other Twitter users as a #firstworldproblem.  This, Orlean argued, was “peevish; it implied that complaining about filing expenses was an outrageous indulgence since it was evidence that…I lived in a first-world country where there are employed people with solvent employers.”

I agree with Orlean’s response to the mockery: it was indeed peevish and made exactly the implication she stated.  It was also hilarious and spot-on accurate, but that’s not my point.  Instead, her response got me thinking about my use (or lack thereof) of social media as well as the implications said media and technology has on my blogging.

A good friend (and dedicated reader) told me recently that my post titled, “Just Because You Can…” sounded rather whiny, bitter, and crotchety.  It didn’t sound like you, he told me over a few beers the other night; it sounded like someone else was writing.  I took another look at the post the next morning and had to agree – I did sound a bit whiny, bitter, and crotchety.  I also had to concede another point he made: technology wasn’t completely to blame; the Irish software developer “used technology to assist him in solving a riddle. He didn’t Google his way out, he used his brain power to write a program/algorithm.”

So perhaps my continued hand-wringing over technology destroying bar culture is a bit much.  I’ll accept that fact.  But I still believe there’s some benefit to minimizing the role of technology in our daily lives.  Now, I understand the irony of this previous sentence: I am using technology to advocate using less technology (at least while drinking).  My wife enjoys highlighting this on a regular basis and never misses an opportunity to poke fun.

However, several friends have nonetheless encouraged me to connect Twitter to this blog so as to inform my readers on topics such as what I’m drinking on any given evening or where to purchase a particularly tasty or rare bottle.  While I do appreciate these suggestions and certainly don’t discount their usefulness, it’s not my style or purpose.  I prefer (and encourage) instead an atmosphere of leisurely enjoyment and deliberate contemplation while drinking; short and quick isn’t my style.  So I’ve never wanted to integrate a Twitter feed.  Rather, I intend for this blog to be like a favorite periodical: casually read with a cocktail, when your feet are up; carefree and light in substance, but still informative; and hopefully always fun.

Technology, bar culture, social media, blogging: does any of it really matter?  Aren’t these words, just like Susan Orlean’s work expenses, just one gigantic First World Problem?  They are indeed.  Yet for this blog, my own little corner of the internet, they are matters of great importance, matters over which I have spent far too long pondering, debating, and writing.  Writing.  Fully articulating, in clear punctuated sentences; reasoning through my ideas to form rational, logical, and complete thoughts.  Not limited by length, space, or time.  Not abbreviated, off the cuff, or from the hip.

If you’ve made it this far, you likely enjoy your cocktails as you do your writing: carefully and completely prepared, presented neatly with no unnecessary distractions, and enjoyed slowly for full appreciation.  I will continue to strive to make this a destination for celebrating the culture of drink, a luxurious First World Problem, and a place to ruminate over problems affecting only us, drinkers who truly appreciate drink.

Published in: on July 18, 2011 at 9:55 am  Comments (1)  
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One Comment

  1. Yo THF!

    Yet another well crafted article. While I see your point about people becoming too dependent on Social Media (WordPress is part of this too by the way), I will say that it does have its advantages. Without it, I would have never found this article or the countless other articles that I enjoy on a daily basis.


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