- Written by Garry
- Created: 30 January 2017
Last week I walked past a billboard at my local shopping centre with a giant headline that simply read:
Now I'll happily acknowledge that modern text abbreviations evolve and reconfigure themselves a bit faster than what I can keep up with, so I wasn't surprised that I couldn't immediately figure out what the hell that one was supposed to mean. I decided it was probably a blend of 'Oh My God' and "Giga Byte". #OhMyGigaByte sounds like just the sort of thing we'd be plaster all over our shopping centres. You know, that is, if we used plaster anymore. Actually it's an electronic sign. Half the reason I couldn't figure out what it was on about was that by the time it had attracted my attention, it had dissolved into a different advertisement for upcoming episodes of My Kitchen Rules, which lost my attention faster than a Pakistani batting collapse. To make matters worse, upon closer inspection and collection of photographic evidence, it turned out that OMGB was supposed to stand for "Oh My Great Britain, which doesn't allow for anything like the same metaphysical metaphor. Just another example of England ruining everything. Typical.
The more I thought about it, the more I realised #OhMyGigabyte is about as perfect a metaphor for modern consumerist culture as you could get. We're obsessed with using digital technology for instantaneous updates, upgrades and uploads. Replacing God with a Gigabyte and swapping the permanent for the instantaneous seems to be the way our society is headed. When you think about it, all it takes is a convenient vowel switch to move from "deity" to "data". Maybe it's already happened.
And then, if you think about it even more (probably beyond what the average billboard would recommend)...
We all know data is there. It's all around us, powering our lives and connecting us with those we live with, and even those spread across the whole planet. You can't feel it, touch it or even observe it directly, but data is always there, flowing around us and waking us up at three in the morning with a strangely timed email notification. We pay our regular subscriptions and keep our plans updated, always making sure we're compliant with the latest software or hardware. And then we go about our lives, casually taking our data for granted, until one afternoon we log on and discover our connection has gone down. Then all of a sudden we're paying attention again. "Oh my Gigabyte," we exclaim "I can't live without my data connection." We mutter curses under our breath, blaming the ISP, the NBN or the road works down the corner, when usually the only problem is we've gone a few weeks longer than we should have between restarting the router and refreshing the connection.
It's such a blessing we've got advertising billboards to remind us about what really matters in life.
Make of that what you will.
Garry with 2 Rs