Originally Published on January 27, 2016
I didn’t think it was really a word. I thought I had stumbled upon one of those rare, original ideas. I called it “Walmartification.” It was the only word I could think of to sum up my feelings about the mass availability of consumer goods, the decline of small neighbourhood specialty stores, and the disposable nature of our modern society. I have nothing personal against the mega-retailer. I find myself there quite often, usually by necessity. They have what I need, the prices are good, but I always go home feeling completely Walmartified — there’s no other word for it.
Wondering if I might be alone in feeling this way, I Googled it. I had no choice. My dictionary was printed in 1988. Encyclopedias are obsolete. Once upon a time we would drive to the library on a weekend to search out such esoteric information, but not anymore — now we just Google everything. I didn’t even have to get off the couch. I Googled on my phone (I know, that sounds very messy). In the same vein as Walmartification, society has also experienced another transformation: complete Googlification.
Seeking out and finding information has never been easier, thanks to Google. It might be an urban myth, but I read recently that a person in 2016 will be exposed to more information in one day than a person in the 1800s would have been exposed to in an entire lifetime. Most of that information today, however, is of very little value — a consequence of Facebookification: the need to constantly update others on where you are, what you are doing, who you are with, and how you feel.
While so many of us spend our time Googling, Facebooking, and Walmarting, it is refreshing and reassuring to know that more and more of us are consciously seeking ways to reclaim some of what we lost to this modern age; seeking a more meaningful and fulfilling existence.
We are witnessing the resurgence of the artisan, evident in the growing demand for all things real — craft beer, locally grown food, and handmade clothes and accessories. It’s a movement I like to call “Realification.” I think it’s a word. And I hope we start to use it a lot more often.