Tag! You’re It!

I’ve been thinking a lot about technology these days. It’s hard not to, living in the 21st century- almost everything we do now is digital, especially in the UK, where I live. There’s been a lot said about the effect of so much technology in our lives, but today I was reminded of how grateful I am nonetheless.

I was about sixteen when Facebook became a “thing”, back in the good ol’ days when there was no option for private messaging and the site wasn’t overrun with adverts tailored to our search engine inputs (another topic for another day). In the beginning days of Facebook, there was a feature that allowed you to “poke” your friends. It’s difficult to describe exactly what it was or what it was for, but the experience of “poking” your friends was like a piece of paper with “please turn over” written on both sides. In short, it was completely pointless.

Oh, how far we’ve come now. There’s hundreds of social media sites, all with different snazzy features and thousands of options. We can find our next date with a swipe right, we can order all our groceries delivered straight to our door with a few taps on a screen, but best of all, in my opinion? We can tag our friends.

It might sound as constructive as Facebook’s old “poke” feature, but let me explain: I have a best friend who lives thousands of miles away (4,299.7 by car, apparently) in Abuja, Nigeria. We both have busy lives and we haven’t physically seen each other in about six years. And yet, we still find time to keep in touch via the little screen in our hands. Yes, there are phone calls and the occasional Skype sessions, but there’s also the seemingly inconsequent tagging.

It’s easy to take for granted how loved we are. I think we’ve all wondered if other people have randomly thought about us in their day to day lives, and whether these thoughts were positive or negative. I suppose I like getting tagged in things so much because it’s the digital equivalent of someone letting you know that they were thinking of you, even if you’re miles apart.

Best wishes,

Jia

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