I haven’t played Pokèmon GO today.
I don’t know if I’ll make it much longer without it; I’m currently experiencing stomach cramps and cold sweats. Sometimes, I catch my hand drifting towards my phone to see if there’s anything around before I manage to catch myself. I’ve even tried to become enthralled in a new PlayStation game, like some sort of Pokèmon GO methadone.
I also walk to and from work. This was before Pokèmon GO, mind; I was walking before it was cool, man. But it’s now taking twice as long. I’ll have my phone in my pocket (Pokèmon GO open) and I’ll wait for it to vibrate, alerting me there’s something afoot nearby.
This constant vibration isn’t a particularly new experience for me, though. My phone buzzing every five minutes is par for the course. And it is always either one of two things.
One: a text message, from a very exclusive (okay, it’s always my girlfriend; I’m completely antisocial) bunch of people.
Two: a news alert, or news-related email.
Five times a day, an email from the Guardian arrives straight into my inbox, and breaking news is constantly being pushed through as alerts to my phone. So much so, I’m often the first person in a room to know of a breaking story.
Since Pokèmon GO, though, I’ve been slack. Oh, I’ve seen the headlines, but I’m just too busy to delve any further lest I miss out on that final Magikarp that’ll lead to the ever elusive Garydos evolution. And because of that, I’m only semi-informed. I vaguely know what’s happening in the world around me, but not enough to form any semblance of educated opinion — and when all you are is opinion covered in skin, that’s a very dangerous game to play.
I now feel almost completely un-informed. When someone asks what I think of a current event, I just have to yell about my Vaporeon until they go away.
Is this normal?
Is this how most people, whose consumption of news is entirely coincidental, bumble through life?
These people, who spend $30 on the new Harry Potter, only to demand a refund five minutes later because they didn’t know it was in the form of a script?
Clearly my fellow GO-ers don’t have an issue with compulsive behaviour. Yes, I’m talking to you. I see you all, phones out, swiping until there’s a very clear and distinct groove down the middle of your screen. I know there’s nothing wrong with your phone, and you clearly have enough free time to do that.
So surely, spending your time becoming obsessed with the news rather than your other apps holds a much greater reward? You become a well-informed person. You can still be opinionated (because, let’s be honest, being un-informed doesn’t stop you, woman in bug eye sunglasses and bob hair-do, from forcing your opinions down my neck) but those opinions will have the weight of more than just the headline you glanced at on the way to finding out about Pidgey Stacking (legitimate thing. Google.).
Besides, by keeping up with the news, you won’t look like a complete fool when you have to return the biggest book of the year because you didn’t know the first thing about it.