Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 20:26, 5 December 2012
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When someone asks you if you wanna go for a walk they often expect to have a conversation, while enjoying both the exercise, the fresh air and the company. Thus any disturbance not related to the walk is not welcome. Going for a walk is often seen as a way to relax from all the daily stress, as it takes the walkers away from work and chores.
Cueball easily agrees to the walk, but not to all the other expectations. Because his first though is that he has to bring along his phone, hence the title. But he does not describe it as a phone, but rather what he wish to do with it, and calling other people is not on that list.
Instead he describes the phone as his device that gives him a continuous (24/7) stream of information, much of which is often out of context. The stream contains peoples opinions, context free but scary news, and other random stimuli.
The opinions could be from news or bloggers but it could also just be from his friends on social media platforms. News stories that are shared on social media are often scary, which becomes even worse because news outlets is likely to use a title that exaggerates the topic to create a fear reaction. The random emotional stimuli could be from many things such as text messages/emails and pictures of kittens and babies on social network, and shared internet memes or viral videos. All things that could cause a quick shift in emotions.
As if all this was not enough to leave the phone at home, Cueball even says he will also take his spare battery, so he won't risk that his constant feed could be interrupted, because he will not be able to recharge his phone during the walk.
All in all his choice and constant need for staying updated and being on-line violates all the usual expectations, that his friend could have expected from asking him out for a walk.
The title text shows it would be possible to take an action to avoid this feed. In the first bracket a person (could be Cueball or Randall) disables all his social networking accounts. Most of his news feed will thus disappear. But this leads to the next bracket which states that such a choice would lead to increased social isolation, since he will no longer be in contact with any of his on-line friends. And today many people also get into contact with their "real" local friends through social media. One might thus miss out on events like parties or get-together, plus his friends not sharing a dislike for social media will not understand the decision. And this leads to the final sentence Wait, why does this ALSO feel bad? So there is not good choice, because it is bad to be off-line, but being on-line all the time is also bad. And it is hard to find the right balance. This problem with finding the right balance between two things seems related to the recent 1796: Focus Knob
This comic could be seen as a counter to 1773: Negativity, as both deal with the inability to escape the media during objectively peaceful pastimes. While in the former, the nature attacks Cueball with the types of comics he wishes to avoid, here, he brings along his phone even though it will ruin the goal of the walk he is going to take.
- [Someone off-panel asks Cueball a question which he answers while walking to a small table with some items laying on it.]
- Off-panel voice: Wanna go for a walk?
- Cueball: Sure, just need to grab my device that feeds me a 24/7 stream of opinions, context-free scary world news, and random emotional stimuli.
- Cueball: Plus a spare battery so the feed won't be interrupted.
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