I think you and I are referring to different sets of things by "time-wasting".
No, I think we're talking about the exact same thing. However, you missed the most important part of my argument:
- You use it as a crutch. I have more empathy than you. I am more eloquent than you. I handle social situations better than you. This is because so many of your interactions happen in a context-free text-based environment where you have no subtext to work with. Consequently I can out-argue you 99 times out of 100 because my Gymkhana was more stringent.
Listen closely, because I mean this will all my heart and because it may be one of the most important things you've ever heard:
You are jealous of us not because we grew up without the Internet, but because we grew up with OTHER PEOPLE without the Internet.
My generation "peoples" better than you. We're better at parties, we're better on dates, we're better in the courtroom, we're better at negotiating salaries, we're better at getting hired, we're better at buying cars, we're better at telling jokes. That you CAN blame on The Internet. We're oh so very much better at forming human connections than you are.
It's an arrogant thing to say. Trust me, I'm aware. But in my lofty position as Father Confessor of Reddit I get a lot of PMs. And they're invariably about someone's inability to connect or communicate with someone else. And, just as invariably, it's because this young man or woman straight-up sucks at reading body language. At parsing subtext. At putting themselves in the shoes of others.
Look - I didn't go to High School in the era of Facebook. Fuck - I didn't go to High School in the era of pagers. My social dance was vastly different than yours. I won't say simpler, I won't say more nuanced. But all that shit you guys have to do online in order to maintain a social life? We didn't have to do any of it. Which means all the time and energy that we put into passing notes or flirting in the halls or wearing that shirt she commented on or playing the right song on the jukebox? You guys have to blow it on a Friends list 1500 deep. And that sucks for you. It fucks you up. It means you're spending less time having a life and more time doctoring spin.
It Has Warped You.
That's why I recommended "Alone Together." Sherry Turkle is the preeminent expert on online relationships. "Alone Together" is the third book in a trilogy she started with The Second Self in 1984. She's got the figures to back it up. And she's got a few ways out.
Your problem isn't that you're wasting time, your problem is that you aren't finding fulfillment. And that's the real meat of what I said, and that's where we come back to agree: "The Internet" is responsible. The fact that you put a LAN party as a legit social occasion is really telling; the first time we stringed four computers together to play DOOM we were the biggest, loserest nerds on campus and everybody knew it, including us. It was far and away the most antisocial thing we could have done. It was putting a thing between our interpersonal interactions, despite the fact that we were in the same room. Simply put, your friends haven't learned how to be friendly. None of you have. I answer your PMs every day. You're lonely, you're frustrated, you're unfulfilled and you feel cheated of some of the prime experiences of your young life.
And I agree with you.
My daughter is a few months old. By the time she's old enough to interact with other people online Google Glass will be as old-hat as the iPod. Yet despite the fact that her grandfather created the first network in the history of the Department of Energy, I'm front-loading that kid's social interactions with as much in-human, in-person, face-to-face interactions as I can.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Look - I'm Generation X, one of the last of them. My parents weren't baby boomers. When we were your age, we were the slackers. We were the ne'er do wells. We were the losers that dwelled in basements, listened to Grunge and did nothing with our lives. Our idol was Kurt Cobain, who was widely derided as a pretty poor substitute for John Lennon. And then we came up with Yahoo, and then we came up with Google, and now we own your parents. But in doing so, we saddled you with this piss-poor social life because we could and because we didn't know how terrible it would be.
I think very, very few people have awoken to that fact.
So be one of the first - recognize that yes, you got shafted. Yes, none of your peers know what to do in a crowd. Yes, if it weren't for online dating you guys would do nothing but spank it to hentai and yes, the whole "asexual" movement is related to the fact that you guys suck ass at forming a human connection with anyone you share a room with.
And then do something about it. If there are 50 guys and 1 girl she isn't going to go with the hunk - she's going to go with the one who makes her laugh, makes her smile, and makes her feel like opening up. And if the other 49 are too busy asking their wingmen for advice over IM, you win.
be the change you want to see in the world.