Funny to read in the the virtual newspaper that stocks have soared this morning due to a record turnout for Black Friday. Even without cable or satellite TV, my family received the deluge of intel on it. The marketing force this year executed with military precision this campaign rendering Thanksgiving as a footnote. Some publicity was free. From pepper-spraying-Xbox-buying moms at Walmart to Occupy Bestbuy, our nation engaged in battle with a bad economy. On twitter I read “what recession” while personally knowing many who may never fully recover their losses. Now, Cyber Monday hits!
Our culture loves the idea of this techie stuff. As a cyborg I am attached to my iPhone like it is an appendage. As I type this, I am viewing a young couple walking about in the Starbucks looking at their iPhone screens instead of each other at a 2-1 ratio. There is a church staff meeting going on next to me where they are planning their Christmas show and the cover art I got to peek at as I eavesdrop is a picture of an iPhone. As I am enjoying my Orange Blossom Green Tea, because Starbucks coffee is just over-roasted and beneath me, I type on a MacBook Pro. It is a Cyber Monday, indeed. Steve Jobs, too bad you can’t take it all with you!
The juxtaposition of a beret wearing Occupy-Wall-Street-hipster with a waxed handlebar mustache in his 20s reading an actual book while everyone else looks on a Kindle, iPad or some other device tells the tale. Yes, a crumpled sports page actually makes this a real place. The idea is we feel more authentic, I think, when somehow we have actual paper and wooden chairs to go along with the over-hyped coffee. Those of us online here in the coffee shop feel more real-life because of the hipster reading a 3,000 page book or the barista with tattooed sleeves. I already feel less cyborg-like writing that.
Then the virtual noise deafens with pings to my phone, email, and SMSs. Groupon.com taunts while you are assaulted with “like” requests for the page of a vendor, church or eatery. Yes, you unlock coupons on Foursquare.com as you collect badges akin to video game level ups. Then, you tweet on Twitter.com how special you are for finding the sale first among your friends. My apologies for those of you lost in this banter in the first paragraph. You live either under a rock, or you remain firmly, staunchly a “digital immigrant” in a land of natives who were birthed with a Droid in one hand and a bottle in the other. You reject existing entirely a cyborg while you surf the football games holding one of ten remotes. We cannot help ourselves.
In the constant digital cacophony, Cyber Monday gives us another programmed chance to worship the god of stuff. But, this idol invisibly evades. How? Some of the things we purchase in cyberspace actually remain in the cyberspace. The MP3s stay ones-and-zeros from the ones-and-zeros of our bank accounts. But, nothing about human nature changed with the medium of this technology other than now we easily broadcast a picture of our bagel at breakfast. And, we spend our money with less thought and effort than ever. It is a Cyber Monday every Monday, already. Isn’t it?