Wander down any high street, strip mall, or town. Look around at those around you as you commute and wait on the station or during lunch in the canteen at work. Notice anything? Everyone is connected, liking, clicking… Everyone. Can we look up?
In 10 years there has been a social change, one we are all part of, one which Steve jobs started and one which I worry where it will lead. Apparently we live in a world where we are more connected and have information at our finger tips. This is true, we are connected and information right in our pockets. It’s awesome and incredible. Yet we are sold an illusion of inclusion, a marketing executives ideal of happy lives sharing amazing times, where everything and everyone is achieving, doing and gaining more than they ever have before because of that new device. Where as the reality of it is, social media is full of crap posted gifs as we all watch a cat dance with a funny hat on, or be told that if we don’t share xyz all manner of bad things will happen. There are social posts of people using it as some kind of narcissistic don’t look at me but look at me, look, at, me. As well as those that state that few will read xyz and if you do then repost and say done. Sigh. That’s just some sections of social media, there are others. Everyone is busy consuming soundbites and being social, sharing, being alive, but are we? Really! Of course we are not. It’s a nonsense, it’s about as far from being social as it could be.
Ironically it’s more antisocial. People now have less time for others and the most people can do is a thumbs up or a well done, or looks fab, or lucky you, or some such bs. No one is connecting, everyone is looking at everyone else’s social feed wondering if they are having a better time than they are. Some are posting stuff in some attempt to just be liked or look at me, or I’m doing better than you so look see. Who cares! We are more disconnected than ever. We believe that we must do everything quickly, in an instant, we are served up a dream of speed and connection is what we need more of, but in reality it simply makes us more disconnected. People don’t even talk on the phone anymore, letter writing even by email is dead and heaven forbid if you start conversation with said someone in a queue or where ever. We have become insular, awkward, scared and frightened of all that surrounds us. The media bombard us with images, chaos and drama. No one dare look up from the kittens on the screen. Look at the recent terrorist attack on the London Tube. Years ago, we were told that any suspect package be reported, anywhere, we’ve been doing this since the IRA terrorised the UK… it’s something us, as Brits, in ingrained in us. Yet, there was a package, massive, in the doorway, unattended, and no one noticed it! I’m guessing then most were all still plugged in and not even looking around. Thankfully it didn’t explode properly and despite the injuries that sadly a few received, it could have easily been worse. What makes me sad and concerned, is that could have been avoided. I believe it could have. But again we are far too plugged in.
So here’s a thing. Could we have one day a week, say a Thursday, where we turn off our tech for once, instead of being social on screen, be social next to the person on the train, in a queue. Connect with people around you. Use your phone if you must, but not at the expense of being truly social, being truly aware of those around you. True social media is speaking to someone next to you. Don’t allow phones in meetings or in the canteen, or at lunch or the dinner table. Leave them behind, or turn them off. Connect, you will be amazed.