Waking up on a Monday morning, I hit the snooze button on my phone’s alarm. After swiping to snooze on my phone four or five times, I decide it is finally time to wake up. But before I wake, I NEED to check my phone for texts, social media updates, emails from work, notifications on my apps, and the list goes on.
I am part of the problem of this day and age’s obsession with technology. The constant need to stay connected with others is repulsive. The fact that the first thing I, and many other people, do in the morning is check their phones tells us something about our technology. We are way too connected with the digital lives of others. It’s twisted how much we “feel” connected by not being connected in real life.
How is it that people feel they can remain friends with someone they simply follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter if they don’t maintain a face-to-face connection in real life? There is nothing like a personal interaction with someone who can see, feel and hear the emotions emulating from a conversation.
It is so easy to brush things off and forget about a message, a text, and a notification… so how is this such a popular form of interaction?
In today’s society, there is a sense of miscommunication through this digital community. People spend so much time on their phones and abuse their technology that they forget to live the life that’s right in front of them. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have been hanging out with friends and everyone is on their phones. I know I am not alone on this one. This is not to say that I have never been on my phone checking for updates while people are around. I will admit that I, too, have fallen into this void. But when I noticed myself doing it, when I noticed that everyone around me was on his or her phones, not even paying attention to the people right in front of them… I set my phone down.
Our technological habits have allowed us to ignore personal interactions because we are so consumed by the lives of others that we can’t even pay attention to the people in front of us. Why even bother hanging out with someone if you are going to be checking up on everyone else’s lives during that time?
I came to the conclusion that I do not want to live a life driven by the face of my phone. I want to feel and see the experiences of the people I am surrounded by, not read about it on a Facebook status. I want to see the joy projecting off of my friend’s face for landing that new job, for travelling to undiscovered territories, for getting those straight A’s, for making their dreams come true. It takes away the colossal excitement when all I get to do is read about it.
As humans, we send off vibes when we fuel our emotions and these are impossible to feel through our brightly lit screens.
This brings me to my next point… feelings can often be misread through our digital platforms of communication. How many times have you received a text message that you felt was a vulgar attack or offensive just because they didn’t put smiley face emojis or exclamation marks between every sentence? I know I have. It stirs up a whirlwind of negative thoughts in my mind, which leads me to think…
“Did I say something wrong?”
“Is he/she mad at me?”
“Maybe I should have worded that last text differently…”
“How can I make this next text sound better so they know I didn’t have bad intentions?”
All the while, the person on the other end meant nothing by it. Perhaps that person is just short in their texts or they punctuate differently than you. Whatever the reason, the point is, you can’t tell because there was no emotion behind it. Tone of voice and body language tells all. How can you possibly tell how that person worded or phrased something just by reading words on a screen? The answer is simple: You can’t.
This is why face-to-face interaction is so crucial and this is exactly why we should not base our lives on the way we perceive it as it displays through a screen.
So many misinformed people out there suddenly get depressed because of how they interpret things via electronic interaction. Not only does social media make us feel a faux connection with people, whom we never really interact with in person, it is the root of depression in many. We value and base our lives off what we see on other people’s social media. Someone that posts all their pictures of awards, outings with friends, and travelling adventures to the wonders of the world will make the person scrolling through all of this feel sad about his or her own life.
“Why am I not winning these awards for what I am doing?”
“I hardly go out with friends and this person just has the greatest social life ever… what’s wrong with me?”
“This person has seen the world and I am sitting here in my room scrolling through Facebook.”
The problem remains the same: we spend too much time on our devices for the wrong reasons and it makes us feel like we have fallen into the depths of loneliness, depression, isolation, and failure.
The people who do not have social media accounts and don’t text all the time are spending their time in person with the people they really care about. When you really think about it, how much do you really care about 99% of the people you follow on social media? The people that matter the most SHOULD be with you for your greatest adventures. They should be the people you don’t need to text all the time because they are with you in person rather than behind the other end of the screen.
So next time you feel alone, isolated, depressed, confused, misled, or disconnected, remember that human emotions are best expressed IN PERSON… where they cannot be shielded behind a screen.