I think it’s safe to say we’re all perpetrators of this travesty. It’s so easy. I mean, each and every one of us is so important that if we don’t respond to an email, text, facebook comment, tweet, snapchat, LinkedIn message, or Instagram comment, it’s scientifically proven that the world will likely end.
Don’t worry, I’m not judging you. In fact, I’m just as guilty of this as anyone. We spend so much of our lives connected to the outside world via technology, that it’s nearly unbearable to be away from it for even a few short minutes. It really does feel as though you’re going to miss something important, even if you’re not expecting a damn thing to happen.
Here’s the irony of the situation – we put so much effort into not missing something online, that we might miss what’s going on right in front of us. I won’t go so far as to call social media and smartphones an ‘addiction’ (yet), but I’d be comfortable calling it a serious distraction.
I remember a few months ago I was out to dinner and I glanced over at a couple sitting a few tables down. I remember the girl meekly looking down as her food as she was eating, and what I assumed to be her boyfriend, incessantly texting on his iPhone. It doesn’t matter if it was their first date or 100th date, is this what enjoying each others’ company has come to?
Are we just making choices about who we’re going to sit near while we play on our phones, rather than who we’re going to bond with and build relationships with?
Are we still enjoying the overall experience of where we are, and who we’re with?
I feel that this has more of an impact on our relationships as we realize. This goes for friendships, but of course, more intimate relationships as well. I think the amount of time your date spends on his or her phone is a great indication of how much they value your presence. In other words – more time on their phone = less concerned about paying attention to you.
We may not think anything of this, as everyone is constantly connected to their phones. It’s become the norm, but this may have more of an impact than we realize. Is the amount of likes on your profile picture really more important than the person sitting in front of you? No? Well – that might be how you’re making them feel.
I think the hustle and bustle of our daily lives easily puts us out of touch with the core of our being. I always get annoyed when someone refers to spending time on social media as being “addicted to the computer” or “addicted to the phone” – those are not the things we’re addicted to. Those are the mediums which we use to develop relationships. As gregarious, social creatures, we are addicted to building relationships, and social media is the quickest, most effective way to do it with the most people.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are still animals and residents of this planet, just like every other species. We psychologically require certain emotional attachments, feeling of belonging, and meaningful relationships. We may feel like we’re accomplishing these things through a larger amount of connections online, but in reality we are simply creating an illusion for ourselves that disappears once we look up from the screen – and that’s why we want to stay connected constantly.
We have to be careful not to sacrifice real life for the sake of the virtual world we’ve built for ourselves. Be present – Social media isn’t going anywhere. Unplug and enjoy life.