Sunday, 4 May 2014

"Look Up" is the worst form of rose-tinted, anti-phone bullshit I've seen yet

It's very fashionable to hate technology and social media these days. You can see this in funny and/or Very Meaningful pictures and videos shared around on the very social networks they criticise.

The latest and most nauseating is a video called "Look Up" by Gary Turk.

Just watch it. The meaning is very clear and simple:
  • We spend too much time on our phones - in fact that's the only thing we do
  • We are lonely, not just with our technology, but because of it
  • Mobile technology makes us soulless robots, destroys creativity and stifles interaction
  • We are slaves to technology, replacing "real life" with time on social networks

Simple messages and the power of cheap music

Of course it's easy for Turk to have a simple message: Phones are bad, Facebook is bad, "the outside" is good. Simple messages travel fast on the internet, especially when you give them nice music.

It's harder to have a realistic message: that social technology has good and bad aspects, it's part of our changing society, it's not evil but does require discussion.

"Look Up" also plugs directly into feelings, bypassing any logical thoughts. For example, the end of the video describes falling in love and leading a long happy life with someone you happen to ask for directions - but how "none of these things ever happened ... when you're too busy looking down, you don't see the chances you miss".

"Look Up" on Youtube.
Maybe he's just texting someone he's meeting?
This sickly sweet verse, its old-fashioned example (asking directions) and its old-fashioned values (lifelong monogamy = the most precious kind of relationship) all deliberately ignore troublesome details of the real world, like, you know, INTERNET DATING and the countless ways people are using technology to meet and interact with new people, including romantic partners, with more shared interests than just bumping into them on the street.

Seriously Gary, start with OKCupid and we'll build up to Fetlife social events from there.

I Forgot My Phone - oh, and all my friends are dicks

I was originally going to write this blog post about "I Forgot My Phone", a video showing a young woman without a phone, surrounded by other people with phones, in various situations: in bed with her partner, out running on a hill with a beautiful view, having coffee with friends.

The predictable message is that people on their phones are not really living life, because they're always occupied by their phone, instead of interacting with people around them, which is what they should be doing.

Flaws with "I Forgot My Phone" are easy to list: Do friends who go bowling all sit there on their phone? Is it always wrong to look at your phone when hanging out with friends? Should you never check your phone when in bed with a loved one, or out running, like, ever, in your entire life?

No, no, and no. The video is an exaggeration, and doesn't stand up when you get specific. (Heavens, don't take it so seriously! Just seriously enough to click "share". On your mobile device. Which is bad.)

But listing particular flaws is a distraction, because these videos are part of a wider trend - the same as image memes which say "When I was a child we played in the street and made treehouses!! Share if you agree!!!!"

The connecting theme is that everything was simply better in the past, before the technology of today.

Sandi Thom, misguided nostalgia, and telling people what's right and wrong

Sandi Thom used this vague, idiotic nostalgia in the song "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker" (click at own risk) back in 2005 when Myspace ruled the social internet. Thom says she was "born too late", yet mixes up punks and hippies and 1977 and 1969, showing a clear misunderstanding of the time(s?) she wishes she lived in.

Ironically, Sandi Thom clearly wasn't born too late to find success by webcasting her acoustic performances from her basement, which were announced and publicised over Myspace.

This is acceptable because it is simple...
Today, anti-phone preachers like Gary Turk are very zealous about today's technology being soulless and "wrong" - yet fail to be specific or knowledgeable about what the "right" amount technology is.

When exactly did phones cross the line? Flip phones? The classic Nokia brick? Presumably rotary phones aren't soulless, because we only see them in films about the past, and the past was a better place.

...but this woman is clearly a soulless robot.
Who will save her from her phone?
Who will save any of us??!
If there was one good and useful thing about Woody Allen's awful nostalgia-fest "Midnight In Paris", it's the final realisation of Owen Wilson's character: that every generation will have people who paint a romantic version of the past, because they're unable to connect their limited and fixed ideas about what humanity should be, with the technology of their time.

(Seriously Woody, you did not need an entire film to give us that one punchline.)

I emphasise "should be", because these videos are not just middle-class hand-wringing: "OMG all this technology, what about our souls??" They are actively telling you what you should and shouldn't be doing.

Don't take it literally! Except the literal instructions

Already a lot of the comments appearing on "Look Up" (currently 2.5 million views, 7 days after upload Edit: I originally wrote 1.8million when I started writing this post, then thought I'd got it wrong - actually just 2hrs after posting it's up to 3million - clearly it's being shared pretty fast) say "don't take it literally". Apparently it's not a literal message, it's just a guide! To encourage us to spend less time messing up our eyes staring at screens, and waste less time on Facebook and Whatsapp.

But the truth is these videos and images really are instructional - particularly "Look Up", which actually, literally, does give people specific instructions. Who knows, maybe it's like the #CancelColbert Twitter campaign, where internet activist Suey Park didn't actually want to cancel the Colbert Report. Maybe you can't actually believe what people say. It is the internet, after all.

Still though, it's hard to see ambiguity in the lines "So look up from your phone, shut down those displays, we have a finite existence, a set number of days". The meaning is clear: that life is too short to "waste" on your phone. Too short!!

Again Turk is clearly ignoring the problematic facts of the real world, like the way technology and social networking save time by performing tasks that used to take us much longer - including communicating with friends and organising social events. Even ones in that magical "outside" place!

Who decides what's "real", or what's important? Oprah? The UN?

Videos like "Look Up" and "I Forgot My Phone" claim that there is some kind of problem, yet they fail to provide any meaningful advice on how we might solve this problem. They just moo, like cattle, that phones are somehow "bad" in a vague, undefined way, and that using phones puts you in some kind of soulless black hole, separate from "real life".

Well, I have 2 very unsurprising discoveries:
  • People are just as creative and social, if not more, thanks to today's technology and social media
  • Phones and social networks are also part of "real life"
"What's this guy looking at? The world?"
Tweet by @cap0w Funny as a joke -
not a serious comment on society's decline
Just take Cameron Power's photo tweet showing a man on a train station platform not looking at his phone, surrounded by people who are looking at their phones.
  • Firstly, 1) looking at your phone while waiting for a train is not a crime, and 2) there was no magic time before mobile phones where people would all talk cheerfully with strangers on trains, on platforms, everywhere, all the time.
  • Secondly, while it's clearly meant as a joke - an amusing comment on today's human behaviour - it hits the same nerve as "Look Up" and "I Forgot My Phone": that doing anything on your phone is inferior to talking with whatever strangers you happen to standing next to.
Well you know what, it's not anyone's business what I do on my phone, or what you do on yours, and it's no-one's place to decide how important it is or isn't.

Maybe I'm on Whatsapp with a friend in another country.
Maybe I'm sending dirty messages to a girl from last night.
Maybe I'm writing lyrics, or reading a socio-political article on the BBC.
Or maybe I'm just looking at funny photos of cats.

Is any of that less "real" than talking about the fucking weather with a random stranger? Who decides?

Please tell me, anyone, I'd love to know.

The world is a better and more interesting place now that we are connected with others who aren't immediately in talking distance. I think that's obvious, and it's dumb that I even have to say that to any of you.

Misty Watercoloured Laziness

What saddens me about "Look Up" is that Gary Turk is clearly a talented poet/wordsmith who has chosen an important topic to express a passionate opinion on. I should be applauding his passion and skill and the production of this video.

But I can't do that, because "Look Up" is a massively misguided example of the rose-tinted anti-phone bandwagon: that there's a problem, and it's Facebook's fault, it's your phone's fault, it's technology's fault, it's anyone's fault but not your fault. This thinking isn't just ignorant. It's lazy.

The worst part of "Look Up" though is without doubt the final line: "Live life the real way". Bullshit. Pure and simple.

Don't tell people their life isn't "real" just because they use a phone more than some random arbitrary amount you decided (yet conveniently didn't mention in your cutesy video).

So dear reader, try these "instructions" on living life the "real" way instead:
  • Take responsibility of your own actions and your own possessions. You choose, every day, how much time you spend on your phone and how you use it.
  • Find the right balance and purpose for technology in your life. Spending too much time on your phone or computer isn't healthy, but they are useful machines that can help your life, and you define how much is "too much". (And eye doctors. Maybe those guys too.)
  • Choose the right devices and apps that you feel comfortable with, which provide the right functions that you need.
  • Get regular and frequent exercise if you're not doing it already, although you probably hear this from lots of other places anyway.
  • Interact with whoever you like, whichever way you like. Whether it's messaging a relative overseas or chatting with a friend over coffee, or - shock horror - both at the same time (because you don't always talk to someone all the time that you are with them), it's your choice and they are just as "real" as each other.
Because the only kind of instruction you can give people when it comes to social media and technology is to take responsibility and choose how to live their own life.

There's a lot more I want to cover on this topic, around society/technology and our current place in humanity's development as a species, from apes to spacepeople.

But this post has been long enough, and I've spent long enough on the computer writing this. And I decide how long is too long for me - not Gary Turk, and certainly not some video I saw shared on the internet.

--> Additional

I should reference Andy Boxall's Digital Trends article on "I Forgot My Phone" from August 2013, which covers many issues in a more concise, articulate way than this blog post.

In particular, the use of "creepy, frightening images of people staring, dead-eyed, at nothing at all" is applicable to "Look Up", in the way it's a clever tool to emotionally manipulate the viewer - while bearing no resemblance to way real people actually act with their phones.
In the same way TV hasn’t stopped us from seeing the world, chatting with friends, or going bowling, smartphones won’t either. They’re still a relatively new invention, and our obsession will inevitably fade. Humans have been around for a lot longer than phones and TVs, but our need to communicate with each other has only grown. Yes, we probably all need to moderate our use when we’re with friends or in places like the cinema. But please, let’s not demonize this amazing tool and the new world it opens up, just because some people would rather the attention it receives was lavished on them.
--> Additional 2

I'm just going to quote my friend on Facebook directly, since they summed up points (like Andy Boxall above) which I kind of hinted at but couldn't articulately describe:
I didn't watch the whole thing, but I've heard the same argument since BBSs and chat rooms came around. Hell you can probably say the same thing about writing letters. I would say that the current technology allows for greater interaction and connection. You are easily able to find subgroups that fit you better and are no longer imprisoned by your geography.
If you feel alone with your group of friends don't blame the technology. It's an enabler and you can have as much connection as you want. You can use it to hide, or to connect, it's up to you.
That line "no longer imprisoned by your geography" resonates with me. I grew up in a large-ish town close to London - hardly some isolated rural village - and yet I remember the first time I went on a chat room on a Suede fan website. I spoke to someone in Lisbon, and someone else in the United Arab Emirates, and other people too. It was amazing.

The fact we can now do this - and a whole lot more - on our phone, and not just a huge boxy desktop computer at home, is a good thing. I don't want to be some blind cheerleader for technology or spending every hour of every day on our phones. But like I said at the start, technology is a complicated and moving part of our society, and it requires discussion instead of equally-blind rejection.

Thanks for reading
Jez x


  1. Good. Very good.

    Knowledge and technology are not good nor bad, they are neutral. The usage you make of them is what matters, and that is where you should be careful and responsible.

    1. Knowledge isn't a good thing?
      You must be some far right wing anti intellectual type.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Thanks Pedro. I'm expecting a lot of negative comments so it's much appreciated to have yours as the first.
      (Original comment deleted for typo!)

    4. To Anonymous, please be just a little intellectual and think about it. Read a little, it does not hurt. You will see that I said nothing new, there are many intellectuals that said the same before. Left wing types, by the way.

    5. Jez,

      Do you mean mine is the first of many negative comments? :-)

      Could be. At first sight, before reading the your full text, I had a different impression. I was thinking you were going to be totally one sided as Turk's poem, just the opposite side.

      Then I found the balance in your message. Most certainly many people, who do not really read, will not get it.

  2. o.O Christ. Why would you link Fetlife? That's a site I didn't need to know existed.

    As for the rest of your content, I only skimmed through it (sorry), but you're commenting on literal translation. Technology is there to help enhance life, make it more convenient, and yes, share with those that you love most, not to substitute your social interactions. Our obsession is great with it right now, and I seriously hope it dies down soon, but did you really say anything more than "Don't take it literally?" Either way, thanks for sharing.

    1. Wow, I'm sorry I upset you with the mere knowledge that an awesome website like Fetlife exists.
      "Don't take it literally" are you serious? That is exactly the sentiment I'm complaining about, very clearly too, if you just read a bit further.

  3. Jez - I thought this was a brilliant piece. I honestly almost bought the brainwashing from "Look Up". I appreciate finding your blog, with my trusty smartphone, when I Googled "Gary Turk anti Facebook". I immediately felt I simply had to figure out how sincere this well-produced video was. Because it is a moving film and gets you thinking you have been tricked somehow and this has set you back in how your life should be. Yet apply any logical analysis and critical thinking and you get the words Jez Kemp so expertly penned. It is crap, but I would go further to say it's unnecessarily over-produced with strong imagery all to manipulate emotional response. And to the guy who "skimmed"...why the hell comment and make your idiocy public when you could have just been a fool privately? At least read the man's words before disagreeing and generalizing only to utterly miss the point Kemp makes...entirely.

    1. Wow, didn't expect this kind of comment. Thanks, much appreciated :)

    2. I also thought something was wrong and googled Gary Turk to find out his motives. It was a bit 'tacky' with the emotional comparisons. I found it a bit insulting. He's been watching too much Dr Phil lol

  4. For me that video was quite inspiring. It is nicely done, simple and, well, why not? Why not to say if something bothers you for fear it will sound too rose-tinted? In my opinion, it does not say that we should throw away every gadget we have. In general, it is the same "instructions" as you just wrote: to take responsibility for your decisions and find the right balance (You did give an instruction, didn't you?). I got an impression that this video just encourages not to spend too much time on iPhone or computer. That's it. Since I recently caught myself trying to take nicer pictures only because I wanted to share something in FB, but not (anymore) because I like photography... or when I saw my little cousin screaming in rage that there is no electricity to play a computer game... It is ridiculous, I know, but sometimes even the most helpful technologies can be a bit overwhelming.

    P.S. I don't really like those internet memes about "our childhood was different, like if you agree"... But I don't think this video is the same... as long as I can avoid people who share it just to share.

    1. Hi there, thanks for calm and thoughtful comment. I do think you, and apparently most of the internet, are giving "Look Up" a very generous interpretation by saying it's just about encouraging people to spend less time on social media and phones. Actually, the words are very specific, and the whole poem has no room for discussion. It doesn't mention or imply the positive role that technology has in our lives, only that it's somehow "evil" and has turned us all into "robots". If Gary Turk actually said "hey, I think overall society has a problem with technology, there are good things but also bad, we need to talk about it" that'd be great, but he doesn't. And of course a complicated message is harder to share on social media, right?

    2. Generation of idiots.

    3. Thank you, 2nd anonymous, for parroting the most over-quoted and useless, ineffectual, inaccurate, lazy line of the whole video. Anyone who genuinely believe this generation has more idiots than any other generation has no knowledge of history or of humanity.

    4. Well, all I've come to learn is that you're cynicle. Although you may not understand, you look un educated when you show such a close minded view on such an obvious topic. There are 4 year olds who have trouble speaking but are fluent with an I pad. If you don't believe time is waisted on that then you once again have successfully shocked me with your lack of intelligence. But hey, you can blog so I congratulate you. Please voice an opinion that shows something of worth, not a trashy poorly thought out insult to a man who would like for people to use there mouth which is made for you to communicate rather than your opposable thumbs which you could use to probably do something with your life besides take a picture of yourself in a mirror you narcissistic mess. I however will applaud your skill of over analyzing literal meaning in a poem. I hope you take it easy Man, I hope you figure it out, maybe write about something you fully understand, ya you need a phone if your meeting somewhere, that dosent mean you can't meet new people by introducing yourself, rather than meeting them online. However if that's easier for you, good to know that you have proceeded to contribute to the laziness that surrounds the generations of the past 25 years. However I hope you look back and say to yourself I've really contributed to the world as a writer we wouldn't be able to go on with out it. You've controdicted yourself in the sense that it is your responsibility to make the most of life and it's truthful meaning, as well as to control our lives in the right way. But who are you to say what is right and what is wrong. Maybe this has sunken in, maybe not, the point is, treat people how you would want to he treated and go to a topic with an open mind. Thanks for nothin.

    5. Thanks Will for your comment. Everything you've said has already been covered in the blog post and the comments, so if you actually read it, you clearly didn't understand it. I feel sorry for you. Your view is not only isolated, outdated and irrelevant, it is baseless. Your fears of people not speaking face to fave are groundless because people will always continue to talk face to face, even as communicative technology improves. Do u find it surprising children find playing with iPads natural when they have simple buttons and big bright colours? If they can't speak, that says more about bad parenting than technology. It's a straw man argument and it certainly doesn't show "lack of intelligence" in me.
      As for truth, this is the weakest part of your comment. Gary Turk and "Look Up" are trying to tell people what the "true way" of living is. I am criticising that and deconstructing his cult-like instructions. "Look Up"'s message is based on fear and irrational feelings, and to "accept things with an open mind" means to critique these messages of fear.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Sorry dude, but sharing something that says "We are loosing our friends circle by becoming unsocial!!!" doesn't pass the spam test. Delete

  6. A nice blog thanks for posting the blog on the website!

  7. Absoloutly brilliant. I just watched that video and was like, "okay, wheres your solution?".

    And like you said, i wouldnt have been able to accomplish half the things i have if it wasnt for Social Media and the Internet. And i live an amazing life, alwayd connecting with people on screen and in the "real world". The 'look up' vid will most definitely make the sheeple feel really bad with themselves and that makes the vid a bad thing in my opinion.

    This article clarified many of my question and for that i thank you Jez!


    1. Thanks very much for a positive and considerate reply! Take it easy

  8. Good bit of writing.
    I too hate the poem, any valid points is raises are washed away in it's anti technology bias.
    We all think people are bad parents who substitute attention with an Ipad or games console but didn't we say the same thing about parents who used to use TV to the same effect?
    And we all have an ignorant friend who answers your comments in the pub with "what" because they were busy with Facebook but these are examples of bad or ignorant people, the technology didn't make them do it.
    I liked the poem at first and thought your blog would be a geeks twat rant but you changed my mind.

    1. Thanks anonymous friend - I think the word "bullshit" in the title probably gives a bad impression, although a friend did say it's "used appropriately".
      Thanks for a considered and thoughtful reply!

  9. I cannot believe you insulted the look up video in this blog. He is not rejecting social media but giving us all food for thought! He is absolutely 100% right though, just look at teenagers on fb - like for an inbox because im lonely..How sad is this and he's right, look around yourself and what do you see, teenagers on FB, kids on iphones and ipads, not engaging with each other. Technology is good but we are interacting with each other less and less, it is sad! I applaud the look up video! When was the last time you had your mates over instead of blogging, or put your computer away and read a book??? Maybe your the one who needs to look up and stop blogging and insulting people who are just making us all think a little about the way we live our lives.

    1. Sorry none of what you said holds any water. I didn't insult the video, I criticised it, there's a difference. He sounds like he's rejecting social media pretty hard to me. What about teenagers on Facebook? They're interacting and communicating on the internet, and they're probably also going outside - you know, with their MOBILE phone - and having non-internet lives as well. These 2 things are not separate. Technology is allowing us to interact more, not less - even if you use your strict notion that "interacting" is only just with people in the same room or within earshot, tech and social media are helping people meet up and socialise and go on dates and do lots of great things. I don't "have mates over" much, my house isn't very suitable for it, I prefer to go to my friends' houses or meet people at events. And maybe I'll just carry on blogging, at home or out and about - with my *mobile* phone, right? - because it's my life and you don't decide how I spend it? Thanks, bye

  10. Some good points here. I liked the video, but I do see what you mean about much of it being exaggerated. Social media is an excellent way to connect, but it can also be hurtful for those tho rarely if ever go beyond digital connections. But that's on them, not the technology itself.

    I also see the humor and irony of video against social media going viral... via social media.

    1. Cheers dude, thanks for a thoughtful and considered reply. All the best

  11. Just wanted to let you know I agree, basically. Something like 10% of my Facebook people linked this video in the last day or so, and after watching it I was really quite angry with it. It's hateful.

    Anyway I found your post by googling "Look Up video awful" - you were the top result and everything.

    1. Hi there, thanks for a nice comment. Glad other people understand what I've written, and that Google's doing a good job! Take care :)

    2. I had the same Facebook experience and became quite irate then disappointed at the lack of critical thinking displayed by my friends and colleagues.

      "Look Up" is manipulative turgid sentimental Luddite nonsense and appeals and recommendations I have read to share it with school students to warn them about the seeming dangers of excessive social media use are quite misguided.

      I could go on here for quite a while though Jez has done a good job above.


  12. Thank you so much for writing this. This video started showing up yesterday for me and i have been searching for a good reply!!!!
    I love and embrace technology. I have met my husband online and I live in a different country from where I was born and raised. I have friends and family everywhere in the world and I am a huge fan of my phone and computer ( I have even build a gaming computer with my 11 year old son).
    My phone has never stopped me from anything. It has only added more to my life and my family's life.

  13. Of course you can take something like "Look Up" and trash it with tons of high-blown analysis. Ok. . .you're a smart guy. Got it. A bit of an overreaction, me thinks. "Look Up" is just another bit to try and put things in perspective. No, we're not all going to throw our I-Phones in the lake. But it makes one think. That's all it's meant to do.

  14. This is a great message. My wife and I are about to have a baby any day now, and I talk about the role technology has played and will play in our kid's life, and how uncontrollable it is (big picture). I wrote about it if you'd like to read it .

    I'm glad people are making this point viral... (which is actually ironic considering the message)


  15. promise I will refrain from commenting on this ad nauseam, but I left out a key point before, and most people defending "Look Up" are apparently missing it.

    Jez Kemp and others who speak up about these particular campaigns are not doing so simply to fill space on their blog or because we have nothing better to devote our time to. What is presented as a plea for people to better their lives (through the direction "look up from the devil's smartphone") is much more insidious and self-serving. I agree there are those in all our lives who could do with more moderation when it comes to social networking, it's universal these days. But Turk goes beyond simple concern for the future citizens of the internet. the video clearly has money behind its creation -I have a degree in Television and Film Production and perhaps am more aware of the effort and resources required to get a well-made short film completed. And where there is money there is an expectation of a return, be it in financial terms or political. I am aware that it appears that Gary simply composed a cunning poem and found resonance within a population of social networkers, leading to individuals donating time, money and talents to further expand this message. Even without any research into this I can be certain of the fact there is an agenda to movements like this. You know, where a group is so zealous about some social change they see the world needs - that they eventually overwhelm and affect change whether you agree or not. Sometimes this has been a positive impact entirely....desegregation comes to mind, civil rights for minorities, etc. Yet often this zealous bunch decides things for the rest of us that over reach what is appropriate for anyone to decide, bar the individual. Abortion, the war on drugs, laws that make religious choice a memory....

    I dislike Gary Turk's film because he utilizes all the emotional triggers and subconscious pathways that are employed by groups such as the CIA, KGB, Nazi's, Communist governments, and of course cults of pretty much any kind.

    Remember, anyone who has absolutes in their language is basically making the point that They are right - and to disagree is just the stupidity of the opposition.

  16. Okay, this article was biased...and went no where. You just expressed the exact reason we, the people, have led us towards the destruction of ourselves. BEING IMPATIENT ! So what if it takes a longer time to plan social events "without" our smart devices. And who cares if we dont have the opportunity to meet someone more compatible.....we should be exploring the world on our own, on a regular basis. Technology has always been about "convenience," which in turn has done nothing GRAND for us. It has helped us understand things we never knew before, I wont deny that, but people are abusing and CLEARLY shutting themselves out. This article was garbage to read. The message those videos were sending, particularly "look up" was excellent.

    1. Yes because convenience sure is bad for you. All this technology is just for people who are impatient.
      Why don't you get rid of the technology and go live in a cave. Go plant your own food ( oh no better yet be a hunter gatherer), no toilets, no phone, no modern medicine, ....
      What if it takes longer? Some people have actual busy lives and if they can save time , time that they would rather spend with their families, why NOT?
      Easy to say but you are here on the internet ........

    2. It's hard to take this comment seriously when it's just the same over-simplistic, one-dimensional anti-technology drivel that "Look Up" is preaching. If you can't see any of the art, culture, interaction and joy that technology has given people, and people are using every day, you must live in a very blinkered world.

  17. The videos were directed towards a specific group of people, the ones whove lost themselves.....simple as that...

    1. I think it's quite clear Gary Turk was aiming it at anyone, if you listen to the actual words. His repeated use of "we" and "you" don't discriminate or specify, and his topic is public human behaviour.

  18. Jez, I loved this, but those dinosaurs on your background totally distract from focused reading!

    Cheers :D

    1. I'm not sorry at all all :D here's a whole video of dinosaurs to distract you more:

  19. Does the guy who made this irritating video even live in the UK? Before the smartphone British people on trains sheltered themselves from human contact by reading the paper; it's just the British way, not making eye contact with strangers. Even twenty years ago everyone would think you were a weirdo for jumping on strangers and hassling them about the football scores on the 7:45 to Euston. Does he also not know that the streets are full of cars, which is why kids aren't out climbing trees and haven't done since about 1973.

    1. Well exactly! I can't believe he pulled out the cliché "when I was young we rode bikes and got grazes and built treehouses". He looks in his mid-20s!

    2. Your blog has a horrible negative vibe, your replies to people who dare to disagree with you are dismissive and smug. As you mentioned, technology has many good qualities, unfortunately this blog is not one of them. I am not going to give my opinion on the video or of your lengthy, convoluted response. Everything that is wrong with the internet culture is above.......Jez, "think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too" Voltaire

    3. Seriously?? Go and do something productive with your time rather than spout off this badly written drivel/shite.

    4. Hard to tell if these 2 anonymous posts are 2 people or the same person. Either way, your opinions are fine, but I don't think it's badly written and it's certainly not "shite". And deconstructing/calling the bluff of bullshit and commenting on social trends is absolutely productive, thanks!

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  21. Thanks for your article. Honestly I started to read thinking "what ? This Look Up video is amazing ! why is this guy criticizing ?!" but actually I'm impressed by your reflection. The links you make with other topics like responsibilty are really interesting. I still think the poetry style is impressive but I totaly agree with your message. I'm quite fed up with people never taking the blame for themselves or the immediate stigmatisation of technologies. It's nice seeing that someone is smart and neutral enough to express clearly the difference between the fashionable and the used tool, but also people's credulity.
    Moreover, in your other post, you criticize the line "we're a generation of idiots; smart phones and dumb people" because, first, stupidity is not a one-generation issue, and then, it's up to everyone to show a smart behaviour. I think you've judged too quickly because I interpret it as : people are even more dumb in our generation because "we're slaves to the technology we mastered" so finally our we don't think by ourselves but let the phones do it for us. But it's my way of interpretation. ;)

    Sorry it's a long comment ^^ and my English is full of mistakes. I just wanted to show you my interest for your article, I may be mistaken but it seems to be the aim in publishing, and a feedback for your thoughts.


    1. Hi there, thanks for reading and your articulate reply :)

  22. you're a bellend. by not following the so called 'fashion' of hating social media and technology, you yourself are trying to be a fashion. I don't believe people agree with the video to be fashionable, the video raises awareness for how much we truly do use technology and social media. at least the guy doesn't have a shite 90's hair cut. and stop criticising people for moaning if you yourself is going to moan.

    1. gross. well, if hating social media is fashion, loving social media is fashion, so how to not be a following sheep ?! --'

      by the way, "stop criticising people for moaning if you yourself is going to moan" is not a justified arguments because there is a difference between standing for an idea and moaning so please have constructing sentences to be part of the dialogue insteed of moaning (yep, it's what your doing contrary to Jez Kemp or Gary Turk).

    2. Wow "you're a bellend" that's certainly constructive. Maybe Turk doesn't have a "shite 90s haircut" but he does have a shite boring jumper, if you're going to be insulting and superficial.
      What you call "moaning" is what I'd call "cynicism for happiness" - because highlighting bullshit makes the world a better place.
      And no, criticising one fashion does not = trying to be a fashion. Wow, much reasoning, such clever.

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  24. My view: clear and simple: I cannot conceive that there are still people who think that technology has not become too intrusive. I cannot really explain you why, nor can i really show you what's happening concretely, it's really up to every one of us to look around and question ourselves about the direction we are going in as a society.

    1. I appreciate your sense of concern - clearly "Look Up" going viral so fast showed there is a lot of anxiety in the world over our use of technology. However, the simplicity of your content is flawed.
      Firstly, technology is not one thing - it is many things, being used in different ways by didn't people.
      Is it intrusive? Certainly some forms are being used intrusively. But "too intrusive"? It sounds as though you would think if a woman who buys a phone and uses it in most or all aspects of her life, that's technology being " intrusive", even if she is totally happy about it and has a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. It's worth repeating - tech doesn't have a mind of its own, it is people who use it, and people who are responsible for how it is used.
      Sadly I think your comment has the same problem as "Look Up", in suggesting that there was a time when we had the " right amount " of technology, but nowadays, we have TOO MUCH and it's all wrong. Well that attitude has existed in every generation, going way back past the Victorian era, and it is simply alazy and incorrect attitude.

    2. My comment was meant to be short as i think i could spend days if not weeks to talk about that issue and i genuinely believe that talking about anything on the internet is not the best investment of our time. Unfortunately, i dont think that anybody will ever convince me to change my mind as i felt like a fish they're trying to catch so many times with their promises(all the marketing and advertising) of a better life if only we would let technology enter in our lives. It just doesnt worth it to me...For example, I have no cellphone since 2010 and i don't understand why people feel like they need one, i see them like if they were irreversibly brainwashed and i feel helpless when i try to show them my point of view, Guess i'll have to read more books to be able to explain it to them... I will always be the one who will question the utility of technical innovations, nowadays so few do it that i take it as my responsibility, just because i feel people stopped thinking litterally, stopped questionning themselves about bad sides of things, stopped looking around them and analyze the situation. I don't want to write a too long message, but i hope i succeeded to show you at least a little bit my point of view.

    3. Hi, yes absolutely - thanks by the way for taking the time to write your comments. It's obviously part of the topic and discussion that shorter messages (e.g. Twitter, which I use but think is a vacuous and limited platform) restrict the amount and depth of information, which can contribute to confusion and unnecessary conflict. (And often does - Facebook and Twitter arguments are genuinely a waste of time, because no-one wins or achieves anything.)
      It sounds like you are confident and in control of your own life choices regarding technology and that is obviously a good thing. Potential problems come if someone starts applying their needs and values in their life to other peoples.
      I'd agree attention spans are probably shorter, on average, than previously. But this perhaps a natural development as information and services become easier to get hold of. And there is always a debate being had on every topic, even if it's not out in the mainstream public news spaces.
      Regarding "need", this is very large grey area. A lot of this discussion is around social media and social technology, which is not necessarily something people absolutely "need". (Although socialising in some form is of course very important to most people, and social technology can help people achieve this, particular if they are physically/geographically isolated.) However, just as tools have radically expanded how humans produce and manufacture objects, food, clothes, buildings, etc. - widely-available social technology is now radically expanding the ways people can communicate.

  25. there was a magic time when people spoke to each other outside of buses and on them.. i lived it.. in Jamaica I have NEVER once gone on a bus and not spoken to a stranger.

    1. I think there is a different culture in Jamaica to countries like the UK, US, Aus, Canada, and those in Europe. I haven't been to Jamaica but I assume it's quite different. It's great that you like chatting to new people and feel no obstacle to do this. But I don't think technology stops anybody from doing this.

  26. I do not fully agree with Look Up, but I also do not agree with your analysis.. there really was a time when people were social, where their was life on the streets, where strangers spoke to each other.. just out of the blue.. and it is an amazing society to live in. You feel whole, a part of something, accepted. It really is nice. I agree that the internet is also a very good way to connect, it allows us to communicate more than we can in person.. it allows us to express art.

    1. Thanks for both your comments. It sounds like you have a balanced view of technology and appreciate there are good and bad sides, which is more than the video "Look Up" does. In my experience, technology does not directly stop people talking to strangers, and in many cases helps people meet others and make new friends. Of course because we are able to communicate with people far away, this means we are not forced to communicate with people close by if we want to communicate with someone. So maybe in some ways there is a drop in strangers talking to each other, overall, because they are not limited in that way. But I think this is more than made up for by the new ways people are interacting, online and in the real world.

  27. seriously though.. get a half decent hair cut.

  28. I thought I was critical but you take it to another level. This was extremly poorly written and you fail to influence the reader which is remarkable given the amount of words written. You're basically arguing that humans should take responsibility, which is narrow thinking because you are saying once a person engages with it they hand over their consent, that is, give away their permission for something to happen; in this case, as depicted in the video, poor relationships. It would be ignorant to say technology has not stifled face to face communication. While technology may improve, humans needs remain the same. Social media does not meet the criteria for the development healthy of relationships, if one introduces their child to say a cellphone at a very early age the child cannot develop his social skills correctly as his basic needs will not be met. Social media increases the quantity in communication, no borders which has its positives. Like your writing, it can reach far and wide but has no real quality one can take away and grow from.

    1. Thanks for your comment, and for clearly having read at least some of the post. The same as another comment, I don't agree it's "badly written", it is actually quite well written and calling it "badly written" is a distraction.
      I'm just going to rip through each of your points because you've thought about it but still jumped to conclusions:
      - Technology hasn't "stifled" face to face communication, and it's not ignorant to say it hasn't
      - Social media doesn't "meet the criteria for the development of healthy human relationships" because it's not supposed to and no-one said it does. Social media can be used as *part* of healthy human relationships. Your suggestion that it can't is narrow-minded and regressive.
      - Letting children spend too much time with phones or computers is probably a bad thing, but this is part of parenting. You can say the same thing with computer games and consoles, which have been around for 30+ years. "Introducing" a child to a phone or computer, that is surely part of the modern age, where computers are everywhere and a useful too - stopping children from spending too much time is a part of parenting and, yes, responsibility.

  29. Thank you very much for your criticism! I was so sick of the video that I decided to Google articles critiquing it, and I wasn't disappointed. You bring up some good points that I've already thought of, as well as some new ones, and I plan to keep these in mind the next time someone tries to defend the video against me.

    1. Thanks very much! Very glad when someone gets it. Cheers :)

  30. I agree with "anonymous" in most of what he/she comments, however I wish you weren't in hiding since this is virtual & these tossers can't really do too much harm to you in the real world that I'm thankful we continue to exist in. J K- you do have a right to your opinion & criticize, but to run down someone I reckon is definitely not proper but this is what the relative "safety" of the cyber-world seems to encourage people like you to engage in willy-nilly with someone you don't agree with or like. Perhaps you having reached your mid-twenties & are of the same generation as Gary Turk haven't had the same experiences as him (which is quite possible), begrudge him that & thus you and your ilk are lashing out at him and "Anonymous! "Please learn to respect & appreciate others words and views and thoughts as I'm sure you want others reading your blog to do.
    JK, I'm pretty sure that GT is not anti-tech & anti-Social Network: he's probably saddened & disheartened by the negative impact that tech is unfortunately on society in real life, particularly on the most volatile segments of society, ie. teenagers. I'm sure you appreciate and value the fact that you can put together proper sentences for your articles on your blog? It's really depressing to think that, as Anonymous has pointed out, loads of generations to come will not be able to practice that privilege! (Unless you're one of them that would rather enjoy such a situation!)
    Lastly, remember that mankind is inherently lazy-always looking for a quick fix or the easiest shortcut: modern technology left untethered will surely opiate the masses!

    1. Your comment comes from the same place that "Look Up" and all these negative comments come from: fear. Fear of technology, fear of change.
      It's ironic you're criticising me for hiding in the "safety" of the cyber world and critically analysing people's comments who are posting as "Anonymous", when my name is openly here on my blog and website. And yes, on a serious note, the internet *does* allow and encourage people like me to vocally criticise and analyse claptrap like "Look Up". That's the good part of the internet.
      If Gary Turk is not anti-tech and anti-social network, why does "Look Up" not have anything good - anything at all - to say about technology or social networks?
      As for literacy, you're blind if you don't think this has been a concern long before mobile phones, long before the internet. Technology evolves, language evolves, society evolves. The idea that "proper" language is somehow going to die out is short-sighted and narrow-minded.

  31. Sorry JK.... You have misunderstood most of what I have said (which is not really surprising, since, after having read a few other posts & your responses to the comments on your blog, you do come across as quite myopic: your say is the only right say,- damn the others if they don't subscribe to your view! )
    I am dedicatedly pro-technology: I live & breathe it! Nothing makes me more satisfied than being able to spend some quality time with my gizmos- be it my mobile devices, computers, or even my motorcycles (on which I've installed the latest & greatest fear that technology has to offer! I do however cherish the time spent with Real people in the Real world as much as possible & do encourage my six year old son to make good, fun & productive use of my Tablet & Mac, but also making sure he gets a healthy dose of physical outdoor activities. I do try my best to give him the right balance.
    If you would bother to read my last response open-mindedly, you would see that I'm not "criticizing" you or your views but rather that I'm asking you to be a more tolerant & understanding person, as well as pointing out how 'Look Up' is not anti-technology, but rather about not being able to control it & letting it replace reality as can happen and has happened to a large number.
    I agree with you, in that language & society changes & evolves, but unfortunately, (whether you openly agree with me or not,) it's a known fact that literacy rates in so called developed countries (mainly in the west) are declining rapidly & that is directly proportionate to social inequality & unrest in these regions! These are the areas where modern tech has had it's greatest penetration.
    Basically, what I'm saying is: Look Up, turn off your screen- at least for wee bit & encourage others to do so as well (ego permitting!) ;-)

  32. BTW, I was talking about "proper" sentences- ie. coherent, structured, readable. Not the "Propah" as you have implied. Please re-read what I have written,- no one and I mean no one would be reading your blog if you weren't putting together comprehensive & well written lines to text!
    I reiterate: just because I have my views & opinions that differ from you doesn't make me short-sighed, narrow-minded, nor anti-tech,- it's just that I HAVE A LIFE, a real & realistic one where technology has a big part in my life, as opposed to an unreal, virtual one! Cheers.

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  34. I agree that the internet is also a very good way to connect, it allows us to communicate more than we can in person.. it allows us to express art.

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Gary is the best, technology is ruining the human kind.


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