“…the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled…enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.” — Senator Ted Stevens, 2006
Open Your Eyes
You wake up and find yourself trapped in a dark social media tube. There are glimmers of light here and there, but you’re not sure which direction to go. You feel your way along, and realize you are part of a giant system of tubes. This must be the Internet, you think. You know the Internet has Facebook, and Twitter, but what else awaits? Do you:
Let There Be Light
All around you is light, and you realize the truth in the saying that “ignorance is bliss.” All around your feet, nipping at your heels, are trolls. You turn the light off and immediately the trolls fall silent. They like dark places better, it seems, where no one can see them. Suddenly, your phone rings. You pull your phone out of your pocket. It’s your boss. Do you:
Not At Work
“I see by your check-in that you’re not a work!” you hear your boss scream at you as you answer your ringing phone, and you once again consider the benefit of not having a phone. You think you might be willing to give up always being connected and accessing your apps and social media in the face of something so ugly. Your boss continues to yell, but you stumble over something soft and fall to your knees, your phone falling from your hands. As you fumble around to find it, you realize the tube has diverged, and you now face a choice. First, you hang up on your bos. Then, do you:
You are glad to just be continuing on, even though your smartphone’s compass and location app is of little use. The tube seemed to be messing with the signal and you feel completely lost. You feel as if you are at the mercy of wherever the tube takes you. You walk for what seems like an endless time, but realize that the tube is growing a bit lighter. Up ahead, you see what looks like a street sign for four tubes that split from the main tube. You jog up to the sign, glad to see a bit of civilization. Which sign do you follow?
Sharp Objects And Massive Crowds
You find yourself in a room that seems to be growing and expanding exponentially. You have never seen such a room. Nicks and cuts began appearing on your hands and you realize that there are red pins all over the walls. Pins, holding images with messages of people expressing want or envy or desire or a desire to make. Pictures of food and wedding dresses and shoes and designs were everywhere. Your eyes began to water, and you begin to feel light-headed as you are overcome with a desire to collect images of things you liked. Do you:
Nothing But Squares
You enter a tube that is no longer round, but square. Up ahead, you see four squares fastened to the wall. You approach, and realize they are small machines with screens. The screens are flooded with information whizzing by, telling you of people going to gas stations, burger joints, grocery stores, and restaurants. You are amazed with the political system at work, since mayors are announced and then relieved of duty repeatedly. There is a blue button with a sign next to it that says “push to check in.” Do you:
All around you, the tubes melt away. You find yourself in a beautiful meadow, and are relieved. Your eyes had been growing tired, and you were getting thirsty. Up ahead, on a secluded path, was a small cottage. You walk towards it. As you draw closer, you realize you are not in a meadow, but on a gently sloping mountain top, and that the cottage was perched at the edge of a steep drop-off. The cottage, upon closer inspection, seems to have fallen into disrepair. No one has lived there for a long time, that much is clear. You are very thirsty, but are not sure if you should go inside to find water. Do you:
Off The Edge Of The World
The ground beneath you begins to shake, and you realize you are about to fall off some kind of edge, about to tumble far down to the empty and silent space below, away from people and noise. You close your eyes as everything around you disappears and you embrace the silence as the last vestiges of ground give way. The tubes are a far memory, the screens a dim light. You float gently to the bottom, away from smartphones, apps, the Internet — you wonder where you are. Do you:
Don’t Be Evil
Before you sits an old woman. You wait in silence, since it looks like she is about to speak. While you wait for her to strike up a conversation, you decide you’d like to do some exploring around her house. It is filled with dusty notebooks, old bookmarks, a little-used knowledge-filled encyclopedia, and other interesting but dusty knick-knacks. An apple with a bite out of it sits on a small table. You see a slip of paper tucked onto the shelf, and look to see if the old woman is watching. You see that she still seems not to notice you, and so you nervously put the paper in your pocket.
A whirring sound behind you makes you turn around. You are still on edge from your recent escape from the tubes. A small green robot shuffles in, holding a cup of Kool-Aid.
“Would you like a drink?” it asks you. Before you can answer, the old woman speaks. “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, and don’t eat the apple.” Reaching for a broom, she stands up slowly and draws a circle in the dirt floor of the cottage. “Step inside this circle,” she says. Do you:
Words of Wisdom
“Be real. Be sincere. Solve other’s problems. Don’t overwhelm others or yourself. Be a human talking with a human. You’ll be fine.”
You think about the advice, and wonder how to apply it to the confusing world of tubes. Have the tubes become too full already, you wonder. You consider what you’ve seen and experienced, and realize that the Internet is used by many, but not necessarily used well. Do you:
Whew! With a sigh of relief, you realize you’ve made it through, and survived social media. You are proud of your accomplishment, and want to tell the world. Do you share on: