She took a step forward hoping to beat the rush, no one is quite sure who she was, only that she belonged to a group of mavens, who numbered ten percent. One after another the mighty ten percent moved toward the promised land leaving homes, jobs and families adrift in a sea of mediocrity.
New signs were manufactured, exacting specifications embedded in code, bold colors welded onto dramatic vision, speeches were given, papers written, web design was outsourced and from darkened rooms servers howled. The message was unmistakable, this was the new thing, a creation promising infinite power to early adopters, everything that had come before would be pulverized under its massive heel.
All the signs pointed in the same direction, and no one questioned the direction or logic, no one asked why as the crowds swelled or why seemingly sane people fell in behind dazed hordes, lemming their way toward Brooklyn. Loudspeakers crackled n hummed with repetitive instructions lulling the masses into cortical submission, “keep walking, follow the one in front, keep walking, follow the one in front.”
At night when we rested, we sat in circles swapping stories of huge cities now empty except for roving bands of the connected, those lucky ones who have received the wifi implant, those lucky ones who swap sensations between themselves, amusing themselves with the new world currency, currency built upon sensations of pleasure, group pleasure, awareness of many at once. Some tell stories in hushed tones of special connected people called Webs. It is said that Webs can connect with thousands of minds at once, transcending the limitations built into the wifi network chips.
From every state and far away land we’ve come, in planes, on bicycles and in wheel chairs, but mostly on foot we’ve made this journey to Brooklyn, home of the lone implant center. The lucky ones who’ve made it stand in line while robots staple a wifi chip behind their ear, embedding it into their brain. Staple staple staple, another one is done, “next” they yell.
The stinking rot of self lives on in poets and flash fiction writers, but soon they too shall give in to networking or starve… It’s rumored that a few live alone in Vermont but no one knows for sure, at night sitting in our circles for warmth we laugh at such stories surely we say they are but leftovers from the denial movement, and could not be happy, they are cut off not connected not tuned in. No tears are shed for those who refuse to become connected.
My own story is typical of the millions of pilgrims coming to Brooklyn. I had a vision while living in New Hampshire of the promise that would transform society, the promise of being connected, of never being alone again.
I struck out and wouldn’t give up. Trudging in a rain so hard it obliterated cracks in the sidewalk, cars bobbed helpless becoming immobilized like toys, we kept walking. Drenched through to our bones we darted around downed electric lines spitting fire. We kept walking. Up the streets and across avenues we sloshed, crying out loud from our arduous journey. We kept walking.
From a doorway a little girl reached up to tug my sleeve, and in a barely audible voice asked “why”? I shook free from her tenuous grip and continued sloshing forward, but stopped for a brief moment, turned and yelled back at her pathetic form lying in the doorway, “Social Media.”