It's no secret or surprise that musical artists from the 60s, 70s, and 80s are much enraged by what the Internet has done for record sales and music piracy. When I interviewed Stevie Nicks last week, she explained that part of the reason for releasing her new Live In Chicago DVD was to show "the kids" a real rock show. In addition, she told me, as so many artists have, that "downloads are the end." We all know that the music industry is in a fragile state right now. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the new stuff. The Electro-pop and indie rock genres are innovative and exciting , and arguably, hip-hop and rap are truly flourishing genres (see Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III, 3X Platinum.) However, I can't help but wonder, what if this is the last wave before utter destruction of the music scene, both in quality and production? And further, what if the tangible threat that "technology" poses on the music and movies industry is reflected more subtly but equally as strongly, in literature, friendship, and even love?
When I asked the Gold Dust Woman herself if we'd ever see a "Stevie Nicks" Twitter account, her answer, full of vigilance and almost ire, was "You will never see a Stevie Nicks Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or anything else, because I think it's cheap and it's sleazy and I hate it!" Call her dated all you want, but before you do, I think it's worth examining if perhaps she, a legendary icon who once all but ruled the music industry with band, Fleetwood Mac, is truly onto something.
I was reading an article in the New York Times today by Matt Richtel about how technology has almost completely obliterated the potential for the "classic love story." Richtel explores the concept that cell phones, blackberries, Facebooks and the like are "rendering obsolete some classic narrative plot devices: missed connections, miscommunications, the ability to reach someone." Think back to the best storylines you read in high school: Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Virginia Woolf's Orlando, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the list goes on. If Romeo could have just texted Juliet, or if Elizabeth had been able to get a hold of Mr. Darcy's screen name, there would have been no strife, no desperateness, no epically tragic moments; no story.
It goes deeper than literature and music, though. Humans are, as social beings, less apt to be accountable in this new age of texting and blackberry messaging. Being late for a dinner or a meeting is easily satiated with a quick electronic message saying, "be 5 late" or "can we reschedule?" To take it one step further, a break-up can be made clear over email or even texting - and we thought Carrie's "post-it" break-up with Berger was bad! In addition, infidelity has run rampant through secret text messages, emails, and the like. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of all of this is that the social networking sites that are so often utilized to commence romantic relationships are the same vehicles sometimes responsible for ending them. The offhanded comment, "Facebook ruined my relationship" has become less of a joke and more of a reality, and with the loss of accountability has also gone privacy and the "secret" rendezvous' ("Un-tag photo!")
Anyone who knows me would say that I'm one of the most "connected" and "internet savvy" people they know. I blog, upload video, write for internet sites, and am an active Facebook, Twitter, and Project Reveal member. I spend my days and nights reading news, politics, celebrity gossip, and music blogs on the World Wide Web. I love the fact that I can get my news anytime, anywhere, on any of my devices. However, like virtually everyone I know, I've also been subject the downfalls that have come with having so much of my life online. So, the question then becomes, where does all of this leave us? As the divorce rate remains at an all-time high and humans are, professionally and personally, less inclined to be accountable, we must ask ourselves, are all of these groundbreaking technological advances truly worth it? Are we, as a nation, more or less happy due to the era of the Internet and cell phones? Stevie Nicks would say no, but I, along with most in my friends, am not sold either way.
I pose this question, and as I ponder it more, will be sure to Twitter my thoughts at @kimmystolz in the upcoming days and weeks. And, yes, my Twitter is linked to my Facebook too.