People have been saying for years that technology is making life rattle on at an increasingly rapid pace. It’s a trend that has been visibly snowballing over the last two decades, and it’s definitely not slowing down today.
It’s an amazing thing of course. The world has become a smaller place – in a social interaction and efficiency sense – thanks to how readily we can now interact with others across the world, and by generally getting shit done quickly.
Now, I still find it insane that I lived in a time before commercially available Internet, and I’m definitely one of those, “How did we ever survive without it?” kind of guys. I’d probably crumble without my Facebook and Twitter fix, and there’s a little matter of me being games editor on a gaming website. So yes, I’m entirely dependent on online efficiency helping me to do my job better and faster.
But because we’ve been steeped in this rapid response, quick-fix culture for so long, it’s understandable that many of us have become addicted to the pace of it all, sucking as much information and services out of the digital pipe as humanly possible.
For example, if our Internet speed is a little sub-par one day, we might freak in fear of falling behind, social networks give us a personal window into the lives of friends and colleagues like an on demand peep show. Wikipedia has rendered the quest for knowledge as less of a quest and more like nipping down to the corner shop for a pint of milk, only a thousand times faster. We want to know everything about everything and we want to know it yesterday.
Which begins me to YOLO. If you haven’t heard of YOLO before, it’s an acronym that stands for “You only live once.” I took the photo at the top of this page on Santa Monica Pier yesterday. It’s a merchandise stand rammed to the gunnels with cheap tat and YOLO-related clothing.
I’d honestly rather be waterborded with hot piss than wear a YOLO shirt, but then again I’m not a teenager anymore. I get that internet acronyms are one of many by-products of our desire to chop useless faff and wasted time out of our routine, as well as cutting down text message cost. It’s another way of making ourselves more efficient.
But who is saying “You only live once” so much that they need to trim it down to the primary letters? I try to avoid using Internet acronyms as much as possible, and I absolutely amn’t looking down my nose at people who do, as it’s just a personal thing. The rate Internet services and tools progress, I’m well aware that one day I’ll get old and clueless about all of this, and sometimes I feel that it’s already begun.
Anyway, I get that some things like BRB, G2G and AFK are useful for those who need to dash off quickly, and other acronyms I don’t use might be genuinely useful to others. But why say TTFN when “bye” would suffice? Some things, like YOLO just baffle me, while TOWIE just makes me annoyed and I don’t even know why.
But YOLO? Yes, we do only live once, so why not slow the fuck down and drink it all in, instead of cutting letters out of phrases needlessly and getting sucked into the mad rush that this on demand society has instilled in so many of us? I probably won’t heed my own advice because I’m genuinely hooked on Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t know, maybe my jet lag is making me cranky.