by Alex Lee
I often listen to talk radio because that's what adults my age do. It's less distracting than listening to vintage heavy metal or hip-hop. I am old because my car is old and does not have bluetooth connectivity or subscription radio. My next car will be a spaceship and will have all of those things. But until they build my new car, I am left with talk radio and driving attentively.
Which is why I am writing this article after hearing John Keller rant about the termination of the social media application, Vine. For those of you who are not familiar with the most popular free app in history at one point, Vine was a social media tool that would take five second videos of whatever people wanted to make a five second video of. These snippets of people's lives were shared across the internet and around the world — some were hilarious, others were tragic, and all of them had a human behind the camera filming it. As with many things, however, Vine was purchased by Twitter in the hopes of increasing its own profitability and, falling short, was ended. While Mr. Keller acknowledges this facet of the technology world, he seems to view the death of Vine as "good riddance" — apparently cheering for the demise of its parent company, Twitter, as well.
He continues with a rather harsh generalization of technology: "The moral of the story is, these fun little high-tech toys that we have become obsessed with are just that, toys. And just like little children, our fascination with the latest toy burns hot, then quickly burns out as we move on to the next time-wasting use of our smartphones." I wonder how many mutual funds Mr. Keller has that have smartphone manufacturers or social media applications as contributors? My portfolio has quite a few, understandably, because technology is a global economic force and if your financial adviser is ignoring Apple and Samsung, you might want to give them a call to have them explain why.
His last quote struck my last nerve: "We know, or ought to know, that time spent creating Vines or Snapchatting or Tweeting or even venting on Facebook is essentially wasted time, that could and should be spent developing human relationships, reading and learning, or that most rare and precious of adult pastimes, sleeping." Ah, sleep. Yes. Old people who don't participate in crushing candy or chasing Pokemons should be sleeping. They're probably grumpy because they don't get enough sleep. Or maybe they get restless in the middle of the night, probably wondering if that last check cleared or why their brother in law hasn't called.
You know, John, you can use a smartphone for those things.
I never used Vine, myself, but I did create a video of me in various costumes punishing a piñata of Donald Trump. I enjoy the Facebook live broadcasts of my contacts. I feel closer to them that way. These people that I've never met in real life are still real to me. So, maybe a majority of the Vines, Tweets, Snaps, and Posts are nonsensical. That leaves a significant percentage of data that IS relevant. Posts of humanity that save lives or improve the human condition. Broadcasts from half a planet away that keep a family together.
Vine did die. But I think it will inspire someone to create a better app — navigating the pitfalls that Vine couldn't avoid. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to check the latest prices on a VR headset.