For me, many college events mean relatively little. Fourth year is not the vodka jelly, rave paint-filled days of years gone by, and I’m quite glad about that. But, on the rare occasion my friends and I muster up the energy to transform ourselves from sweaty library dwellers to presentable humans, I will find myself scrolling through Facebook events to see what’s on offer. I gather I’m not alone here.
Usually, I’ll have seen that some of my friends – “acquaintances” to be more accurate – have shown interest in what has become your average Dublin club night: the DJ probably presses shuffle on his iPod, the drinks deals cost more than a whole week’s worth of lunches, and I’m likely to get my foot trod on by someone in the same pair of Topshop boots as me. And I’ll sigh and mourn for the age of real music, organised dances and prom dresses of the 1950s American childhood I never had (and that probably only existed on film). And I’ll look at who’s going, who’s “interested”, what the venue is like, what the music will probably, inevitably, be like, and then I’ll make a calculated decision about whether I should go.
This suits me. I like to plan – in fact, I love it. But since when did our social lives become so predictable? Since when did we get a full guestlist to scrutinise before deciding whether we’ll give this night a go? Since when did it all get so dull?
It simply means I can subtly stalk my wider social circle, and perhaps my library crush, without seeming like the psychopath I truly am.
Granted, my critics will argue that the increasing interconnectedness of our social lives is nothing to complain about. If anything, it gives us more choice and access to events that otherwise could pass us by. But even if there are more options floating around I don’t think the wider range of events on my Facebook feed has made me any more adventurous. Personally, it simply means I can subtly stalk my wider social circle, and perhaps my library crush, without seeming like the psychopath I truly am.
Of course, there is no denying the Internet has improved our lives infinitely, in ways we can’t even begin to explain because we can’t conceive what life would be like without it. And there is no doubt that it’s nice to get excited about events. I relish the opportunity to look up the menu of the restaurant I’ve booked and salivate over the options. One of my favourite procrastinating techniques is to scroll through pictures of club nights and see if the people are my kind of style. But where is the joy in always knowing?
But on the other hand, the “wonders” of the world, the rich mysteries of places unseen no longer remain this way for so many corners of the earth.
This all-knowingness is also applicable to the way we travel. However, with a journey afar it’s a little more of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, without the joys of the Internet it could be argued the trip would have to be even more meticulously planned, with no option for last minute cancellations or bookings of train tickets, hostel spaces and bus tours – as all this would presumably require a lot more fore thinking.
But on the other hand, the “wonders” of the world, the rich mysteries of places unseen no longer remain this way for so many corners of the earth. If I take a trip to India, I pretty much know what’s in store for me. I can read the countless online travel blogs that exist, I can flick through friends photos, I can flick through Google images. God, if I really wanted to, I could Google earth my whole trip just so I’d know exactly what each morsel of dust and dirt looked like.
But do I always want to know what I’m in for? Perhaps I am once again playing resident cynic, but I can’t help feeling that though it aims to broaden our horizons, social event planning simply narrows them and that in reality, the overload of information often makes us less brave than we might have been otherwise. Isn’t the adventure lost in a path the Internet can already map out for us? Perhaps knowing less would help us live more? Perhaps there is truth in trying to simply go with the flow?