My sister's voice suddenly rings out: "Look up, dork." She's standing right in front of me.

"Oh. Hey! This says you're in Lincoln Park."

"Well, I'm not. And you were speeding, little brother. You need to slow down."


While the average American deals with "only" about 500 texts per month, in an effort to prove my stamina is still as virile as a 17-year-old's, I am attempting to hit the teen mean (123 per day). It's taking a lot of folly on my part, including emoticons, ROFL and TTYL replies, and, yes, smiley faces. This one's a guy with a mustache and a hard-on: ;{)--^<.</p>

Having a decent camera on hand makes it a lot more likely you'll be taking pictures. Instagram's 100 million users have shared more than five billion photos; at Facebook, 200 million pictures are taken and uploaded every single day. Add Flickr, PhotoBucket, Picasa, SmugMug, and WeHeartIt, and you've got . . . well, too many photos. This week I've shot everything in sight: rusty bicycles, sunsets, sandwiches (what am I, Japanese?), and cats. Lots of cats.

Which brings me to Pinterest. Skewing heavily toward female sensibilities and visual acumen (home decor, fashion, recipes, travel, and Channing Tatum), Pinterest just passed Yahoo as the fourth-biggest traffic driver on the Web. What does that mean? People go there, then buy shit. (The site has grown by 5,000 percent in one year.) Women aren't the only visitors — the most manly man I know pins like a teenager at an American Apparel discount mall: pics of fishing lures, national parks, and Ram trucks. The place is addictive: I just lost three hours of my life pinning on boards for Art Deco, Pickling Jars, Vanity Fair, and Infinity Pools.

Hazel suggests I sign up for a service called Klout that aggregates all your social media and gives you a daily score. "It might give you a better idea of where you can be an influencer," she explains.

Logging onto the site, my initial score is an 8. "We can work with that," Hazel sweetly notes. I took some time to add my "influencers" and hone my profile: Stephen Colbert (89), the Dalai Lama (90), Bill Maher (88), Chelsea Handler (41), Bill Moyers (83).


Life in the clickstream is starting to heat up, and not necessarily in a good way. In an effort to respond to all incoming posts, messages, tweets, texts, and e-mails in a timely manner, I am Pavlov's dog — without the drooling. Here's a real-time snapshot:

I arrive at Freshy's cafe at 3:45 p.m., 15 minutes before my graphic designer. I check in on SCVNGR, a location-based game. If I make a napkin origami here, I can earn points toward a free coffee. Two new e-mails — one from an editor I need to get back to and another from Living Social letting me know that laser nail-fungus removal is now only $299 (previously $1,200). I have received an important message from OkCupid: My profile picture was flagged for being inappropriate. (Isn't that the point?) Turns out it doesn't have me in it. Before being able to edit this glaring error, I must reply to three new texts, a +1 in my Google stream, and four comments on my Facebook page.

"Hello, sir. Do you know what you'd like?" Now I am the idiot in line with my head in my phone, ignoring the human in front of me. "Oh, hi, I'm sorry. I think I have a Groupon . . . " A friend has seen my FourSquare post and is just down the block. Do I wish to join him? My sister has just played "Queer" for 36 points in Words With Friends. Fauzia has fanned me on HuffPo. "Yes, if I could have a macchiato, with a little extra . . . " Jaimey likes your playlist on SongZa! Do you wish to share a playlist? My friend shows up. "Hey, I just texted you. Aren't you supposed to be totally plugged in this week?" I hand my phone to the steaming (not lattes) man at the cash register. "Do you take Square?"

"After only three days, we're probably not going to see any physiological changes," notes my doctor, Terrill Harrington, when I confront him with my experiment. "Those can take a long time to show up. But I already see you've got 'gamer's hunch' from sitting in front of your phone and tablets 18 hours a day."

"My heart-rate monitor app says it's 150," I say. WebMD indicates this may be anxiety; they suggest Percocet or Vicodin. Which is Harrington going to prescribe?

"If you're feeling jittery, it could be the added stimulation you're putting yourself through," he explains. "It used to be the only way we'd know we had a message was to come home and check your answering machine. Now it's constant. That'll make you anxious. Let's check your pulse." It's 93. "Wow! Well, your pulse at rest should be 60 or 70. Ninety is if you're walking briskly. Let's check your blood pressure."

The look on his face tells me things aren't good. "Your blood pressure is sky-high," he says, putting my other arm in the device to be sure. "Yeah, it's 183/110." (Normal's closer to 120/80.) "If you said you weren't feeling well, I'd think about putting you on medication." Three months earlier at my annual exam, everything had been normal. "That's fascinating. You've actually got some hard data. Listen, I think this is probably from all the stimulation, and that you'll be fine, but I want you to take it easy, and come in again later this week."

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7 comments
chrisanonymous
chrisanonymous

TL;DR 
OP is getting old and starts to hate on new technology.
Goes on a quest to reaffirm his POV.
Quotes Shakespeare at the end to complete ultimate cliché.

loosecannonsbluesban
loosecannonsbluesban

The possibility of a solar eruption from the Sun which hits the earth is a VERY real possibility.  A solar eruption recently occured that, had the trajectory of it been towards the earth, would have wiped out all electrical connectivity world wide, maybe even wiping a large portion of our atmosphere away!  So, we would truly have an apocolypse.  We are not prepareing for this and we really should.  Buildings should be built Hobbit style, underground with HVAC systems designed to produce water and oxygen and food in the interior.  We're like rats that when faced with certain death will busy themselves with non-important things, even knowing that the danger of dying is clear and present. 

Ted House
Ted House

I still don't have any type of smart phone, and i get by just fine thanks. No need to pay for internet on the go.

Joe Rollins
Joe Rollins

Get lost. Be less addicted to FB/Twitter.

ckrescho
ckrescho

What is the deal with that photo?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @ckrescho 

 

Yeah that photo is more than a little creepy

 
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