Our phones and social media are highly addictive, it’s almost like a drug.
I sometimes catch myself scrolling on Instagram or Facebook for a good 15 minutes, only to check again hoping to see something new, even though deep down I know that I won’t.
I see people putting in so much of their life into social media just to please people that they’ll never meet.
We place value on people, places, and things by the amount of followers, likes, and comments they receive. Forget if it’s good quality, if everyone likes it, it must be good right?
While we may feel that social media and technology has made life more convenient, it as actually interfering with crucial human needs:
Altered Organization of Public Life
One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is how we navigate cities. Businesses are now able to pay to make themselves more visible on maps of individuals they are seeking to target. Naturally, we will go to the places that Google nudges us towards by making them more visible to use, rather than randomly discovering places in our city over time.
Personally, I rely heavily on Yelp reviews to make decisions on what restaurants or spas to try, rather than seeking recommendations by word of mouth.
Media is constantly controlling and shaping our lives, whether it’s in a new city we visit or in our own neighborhood.
Can you recall the last time you’ve asked for directions from a local on the best place to eat without using your phone?
The Value of Face-to-Face Communication has Declined Drastically
It seems as though face-to-face communication is avoided at almost all costs by many people. Yet we need socialization to survive.
Our cellphones are now tools to help monitor and mediate our life. For example, when we are waiting for a friend to meet us at a certain place, we use our phone to text them to find out where they are, scroll through social media, and check our email.
We no longer value time and space, because are are trying to constrict time and receive updates and gratification instantly. In the past you would meet somebody in person, agree on a time and place to meet, and wait patiently. If they were late or never showed up, you would have to wait until later.
Now there is plenty of room for flexibility with the ability to instantly communicate. What seems like a time-saving tool is actually making communication less meaningful.
We Put More Effort Into Taking a Still Image Than Making Conversation
It drives me crazy how people will go out just to take photos. I had a girlfriend who would get so upset if she didn’t get a great picture every time we went out. Her mood would be horrible for the rest of the evening and she’d want to go home.
It’s as though we invest more time in capturing the moment, rather than being in the moment. We spend so much time watching other people and trying to generate more media, simply because we want to be seen, as though attention we receive validates our existence.
Many people even have gone to the point of getting plastic surgery to look good for an Instagram photo, but when seen in person, they look mutated and deformed. All for 1,000 likes and a couple more followers. Being “Insta-Famous” seems to be more of a goal than earning a college degree these days.
I’ve noticed that we crave the attention of others, but can’t bare to take the extra step to make a meaningful connection, let alone have a conversation not involving technology.
We want to be seen through lenses that we can manipulate and edit, but not in person. Social media and technology have given people so much control, that our perception of reality has been altered. We are too consumed with our fantasy of what we want the world to be.
So try it for a day or at least 8 hours. Put down your phone. Leave it in the car while you take your mom out to lunch. Put it in your pocket before a work meeting, and ask your co-worker about the family. Go out on a Saturday night and don’t record anything.
Social media isn’t going anywhere, but our time here is flashing before our eyes and we are spending it looking at a screen, rather than utilizing it.
Put down your phone.