Culture

Are you still there?

In this fast-paced world, where we hold three meetings simultaneously while eating lunch and planning a child’s birthday party, it is understandable if we don’t follow all conversations very closely. It is also similarly understandable if we think everyone is talking to us. Well, rather at us. And, as a result of it, it is OK to feel annoyed, numb, and a teeny bit overwhelmed.

Thus, we probably have on occasion sat in a comatose state on the couch while watching recorded shows or binging on Netflix. I recently binged a very horrible show called Love on Netflix. It was no love-fest. My eyes burned with its awfulness and yet I couldn’t stop watching it. Stopping it and finding a new show would be too much effort. Plus, even though it was horrible, I needed to know how things turned out.

If you have ever just kept watching episode after episode on Netflix or just left your television on for hours on end on the same channel, you eventually get an eerie, spooky message directed at you. Eventually, the screen asks you “Are you still there?” And then you have to prove that somehow you are somewhat non-comatose enough to push a button indicating you are indeed still there.

The first time I was prompted with such a question, I was a little freaked out. Of course, I was still there. Why wouldn’t I be? But then little by little, time after time, I came to realize that there would probably be many occasions on which I would have to really think about whether I was still there. And I don’t just mean in regards to television viewing or my online checking account, which tends to ask me way too often whether I still need to be logged in. But let’s branch out beyond securly accessed websites.

Imagine after two hours in a meeting, if someone were to ask whether you were still there. How would you respond? You may take into consideration what is appropriate and what you can perhaps get away with. It would be a blast to note to someone that once they asked their fifth rhetorical question you were “gone”. Or once they said win/win for the third time your mind was already on a beach elsewhere sipping a Mai Tai.

The singer Michelle Branch asked a while ago”are you happy now?” Nowadays, she may be better off asking “are you still there”?

11 replies »

  1. I would blatantly say “no, I’m just taking a wander around the shops” if asked I was was still there during a meeting. That is quite eerie to be asked that by technology..!! x

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