Oh, technology, you’re spoiling us

Reuniting us with semi-friends, updating us on Ashton’s views on Iran . . . you keep giving

Technology is great at solving problems. For instance, I used to have the problem of being able to sneak out of work to go see a movie, but my BlackBerry “solved” that. Now people can instantly make me work, even at night! Thanks, technology.

What other problems have you solved for us lately?

Life’s problem: Those people from high school that I hated—is there any way to get them back into my life?

Technology’s solution: Facebook.

It used to be a real chore to get in touch with people you were desperate to lose touch with in the first place. But thanks to Facebook, it’s a snap to renew acquaintances with all sorts of long-lost semi-friends and remind yourself why you shunned them in the first place.

Facebook is also a great way to let friends know what you are doing. For instance, if you are just hanging out you can adjust your update to read “Just hanging out.” If you are regretting having accepted as “friends” so many people from your past whom you actively disdain and resent, you can adjust your update to read “Lethally mauled by puma.”

Life’s problem: Not being lousy enough at driving to perish in a fiery crash of one’s own making.

Technology’s solution: Texting behind the wheel.

Back in the good old days, a swerving vehicle meant one of only two things: either the driver was stinking drunk or it was invisible animal season in Gary Busey’s head. (A moose—veer right!) Now, it’s more likely to be some knucklehead thumbing a message on his or her cellphone.

Several U.S. states have approved or introduced laws to ban texting while driving. B.C. police chiefs want an outright ban on drivers using cellphones. This paternalism has angered some teens. One high school student in Utah recently tried to counter the perception that “all teens are always texting all the time.” Not so, he wrote. In fact, one of his friends said of texting while driving: “I only reply if it’s a good conversation, but if it’s just ‘Hey!’ then I won’t [reply].” Surely it will comfort the family to know their boy was so discriminating in sending his winky emoticon before the impact of the crash shattered his pelvis.

Silly kids. They just don’t get that a ban on texting will allow drivers to focus on more important things. After all, those fingernails aren’t going to paint themselves.

Life’s problem: A lot of stuff written on the Web is too thought-provoking. Any way we can dumb it down?

Technology’s solution: Twitter.

Twitter is awesome if you’re a big fan of celebrities or spelling mistakes. Spend a few days on the site and you’ll find it hard to believe we ever lived in a world where we didn’t know what Oprah was having for lunch. Plus, Twitter gives the traditional—or “dying”—media a faint whiff of relevance. Half of CNN’s programming day is now filled with anchors reading the “tweets” of HotMomma176 and BigDawg33. Why pay Christiane Amanpour the big bucks when Ashton Kutcher is tweeting his analysis of the Iranian election for free? “I dont know that we shloud B jumping in2 this Iran deal,” Kutcher opined in a view that, if memory serves, echoes the recent U.S. intelligence report entitled, “Options 2 B Considered by Prez re: Iran deal.”

Still, one wonders how long Twitter can stay popular. I registered a while back, but like many I had trouble adapting to the site’s limit of 140 characters per entry. Simply put, that’s way too many characters.

Like most who are young and extremely hip, I harbour a pathological urge to use the chrome-shiny faddishness of social messaging to inform others of my every thought and activity—even when such musings, were they to be uttered verbally, would prompt everyone within a 20-foot radius to develop an acute case of who-the-hell-caresosis.

But 18 to 22 words? Dude, who’s got the time? That’s why I’m introducing a new messaging utility, Bwh.

Bwh allows you to keep in touch with friends, update colleagues and perpetuate the illusion that your daily tedium has subtle undertones of meaning. But it does so while keeping postings to a more reasonable number of characters: nine. Also, no vowels.

Did you totally sleep in? Let the world know you totally slept in. Just log on to Bwh and type: “Ttl slptn” Future generations will cherish your insight into the human condition.

Did you come across something really boring on the Internet? Warn everyone with Bwh: “www=zzzzz.”

Did seeing a dog in a pet store window make you sad? Don’t keep that kind of gold to yourself. Bwh it! “dg = frwn.”

Bwh is the future of social messaging and desperate cries for attention. Start Bwhing now before starting to Bwh makes you seem helplessly trendy.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.