2000 and late

Are we being spied on? Monitored 24/7? Does it bother you?

When you read and talk about internet and surveillance, you end up making a choice between believing in a conspiracy theory or not.

Please allow yourself to change sides from time to time. I certainly do. The internet era is too young and the questions far outweigh the answers we may have.

One thing is for sure. We, you and I, spy on each other ourselves. Before any government, institution or potential employer, we are the ones creating a world where nothing can be kept in privacy. Nothing can be fully forgiven, nothing will be fully forgotten.

And if we are aware of the fact that we are being constantly watched, how much of an impact does this have on our behaviour?

Who Are My Heroes?

Tina is a girl in her early twenties, fascinated with the world and with people, who tends to approach whoever she thinks is cooler than herself – people who dress simple, talk about alternative movies, and engage in conversations about national politics. She has this urge to observe, imitate and learn, and perhaps for this very reason she is so prone to new friendships and conversations.

Whenever she returns home, where she lives with her grandparents, mother and three younger siblings, she throws herself onto the couch with a quick snack in her hands and plays chit chatter with anyone in the house who passes by. Three stories and a few laughs later, Tina is ready to go upstairs and spend some time on her cell phone for a few hours.

One of these days, after going upstairs and throwing her bag on the bed, Tina realized that she’d left her cell phone in a friend’s backpack. She obviously thought of going to Andrea’s house to pick it up, but it was not worth it driving for an hour and a half once they would meet early in the following morning.

There was a huge sense in her of not knowing what to do. The house computer is for the use of the whole family which equals to no privacy whatsoever. The book she was reading was on her cell phone. The messages she exchanged with all her friends throughout the day, conversations still pending, were on the cell phone. The links left open on blogs she wanted to read later: on the cell phone. The photos and videos she was going to edit that week. Cell phone.

Then Tina remembered of a story her grandfather used to tell them about how his parents would not let him go hang around with the crowd at Stanislau, the district next to theirs. By the way, it was in Stanislau where Tina’s grandmother used to live, and it was in that area that the two of them met and started dating, more than 4 decades ago. But everything happened in secret; at that time there was no way to convince parents to let their children hook up with the ones from that and other surrounding areas.

Those kids just wanted to be together, to talk to each other and spend time together. Often doing nothing special, but together.

And isn’t this spontaneous simplicity that Tina now considers heroic?

– – –

In the Digital Age, our skills are uncountable. We’ve developed the ability to interact, produce and retain information at high speed, everything at the same time and right now.

On the other hand, meanwhile, we lost the calmness of what is simple. Whatever is simple has become silly; if it’s not complex is not good enough.

What are the priorities that move us, after all?


My 3 Essential Apps

Ed and his friends from the neighbourhood have roughly the same daily routine throughout the whole week. They go to school in the morning, come home for lunch and meet at Tulipo’s door for some cigarettes and petty talk. Sometimes Tulipo himself leaves his house with his guitar and plays some classics in the background, sitting on the sidewalk. Their age varies from 16 and 19 and, in theory, they should be preparing for their college exams. But very often laziness gets in the way.

Everyone in the group has cell phones (some better, some worse) and the hit amongst them has been Tinder. They show each other photos of the girls they find, arrange dates with some of them via Whatsapp and so on. That’s basically how their days go by.

In one of these afternoons, when Ed was coming home, he came across the woman who would eventually become the love of his life. A tall, alternative girl, a little older than him and with strangely coloured hair – half green, half orange. She was standing in the street, checking messages on her cell phone. She was wearing a large, colourful t-shirt with words in French that Ed could not understand. Soon he trembled, thinking she was way out of his league.

However, the girl herself made a move and asked Ed if the bus stop was anywhere around. Not long after they were laughing together at the dog that looked like its lady owner across the street, then talked about what was going on on Facebook that week and ended up exchanging phone numbers.

Truth be told, she does not even use Facebook that much. She prefers to follow art exhibitions through Artlyst and to read some of her recent downloads on iBooks. But, she said, Facebook is a necessary evil and facilitates her communication with friends and family who live far away.

From there, they arranged to meet the following Thursday at a rock concert in town. They had fun like they never did before, and, despite all the differences, could not stop seeing each other. They never went apart again.

This is a love story from 2015. But it could be from 1986. Except for all the Apps.


– – –

We all have our favourite Apps. No matter what age you are, or how much internet you use in a day, it does not even matter whether you like the Apps you use.

They are part of our daily life and simplify (greatly!) tasks that we used to do in a much more spacious way. There it is, it is a matter of space. Maps, games, recipe books, postage stamps, LPs and cassette tapes, cameras, newspapers, TVs, money! All of them available in our tiny cell phones.

Which Apps are essential to you?

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Are You Addicted to Emojis?

They were very good friends, Fatima and Martha. They used to share everything with each other, from school to family issues.

Later on though, after more than 10 years of friendship, things started to change.

Martha’s parents began to give her a brand new mobile phone every Christmas, even though it always cost so much money and she was only in her teens. Fatima realised that slowly but surely her best friend was shifting to another group of people; one that she did not belong to, that cared more about money and cool gadgets, and had less time for innocent ice cream dates.

Martha was good with mobile phones. She taught Fatima how to use them and how to connect with fellow students through them. All the messaging back and forth made them giggle.

One day, however, things got out of hand. Fatima wanted to try messaging by herself, just to have a bit of fun. She secretly took her friend’s phone and, whilst pretending to be Martha, sent a text message to their school senior Ben.

Ben only replied with a

no  😡

Martha managed to get her phone back and read everything. She could not believe in her eyes.

And Fatima never got over the embarrassment. Not at least until Martha heard of her last, a couple of months later.


– – –

Emojis (or emoticons, in general) are nowadays a vital part of people’s speech.

They determine – or basically replace! – our tone of voice and in many situations put our words in the exact context we want to.

How important are emoticons? Could you go through a whole day without using them? Maybe you could. But the majority of us cannot.