“Human Bandwidth Manager”

I am not sure how many of you watch Portlandia (if you do not you are missing out). Okay, honestly not every episode is amazing, but some are very clever. I compare it to a skit in an episode of Saturday Night Live. Some are winners and hilarious and others are horrible. The same goes for Portlandia. One recent episode had a sketch about our digital footprint.

Carrie Brownstein feels completely overwhelmed by all the emails, Facebook messages, texts, likes, etc that she gets all day. She decides to declare social bankruptcy. She goes into a bank to file papers to remove all of her online profiles. The guy on the other side of the desk (Kumail Nanjiani) basically tells her that everything will be deleted (Twitter followers, voicemail, her ‘social’ debt, etc). She signs the papers, and her social identity no longer exists. Her own friends do not even recognize or remember her. Is that what our world has become? We are only known through who we are on Instagram or Facebook? The man even has a nameplate on his desk that says: “Human Bandwidth Manager.” Clever. Rather than tell you what happens you can go online and watch it here.

It made me start to think as I have those days where I cannot imagine reading another email, opening another text, checking Facebook, because it all just feels too much. We have either embarked or wished we had the self control to take a day or a week away from social media. You hear folks all the time say they are going to detox from their smart phone or social networks. There are even three pages of articles on The Huffington Post just on “Social Media Addiction” and that is just one website.

I can attest that I at times am addicted. I blog, I Facebook (wow I just used it as a verb), I email, text, and quasi Instagram and sometimes tweet. I also enjoy my time away. I love syncing my emails and seeing nothing new (it makes the world feel quiet). Yet, are we so saturated that individuals have to go on a social detox, or maybe a social identity crisis? While Portlandia was making fun, will “Human Bandwidth Manager” be a job of the future?

What do you think?

2 thoughts on ““Human Bandwidth Manager”

  1. I love Portlandia, one of my favorite shows. I think that although the sketch is light-hearted, it points out a very real social illness. I am as guilty of it as anyone and wish I could get myself to take some time away. I think that this summer I may go away somewhere with no cell service or internet. That would be interesting.


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