The internet has spawned an “International Attention Crisis” where people worldwide are addicted to constant (24×7) updates and instant gratification by social media, email, voice mail, and other “indirect” (i.e., non-face-to-face) contact with others.
Walk into any restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or even car, these days and you’ll seldom find anyone to talk to – in person that is – and you’ll find the same with everyone else. It’s as if we’ve all become zombie slaves to our electronic connection tools.
Sometimes I wonder if there is really any communication happening in person today… except on reality TV shows where fantasy and reality blend seamlessly to convince us that non-communication in our homes and personal lives is okay.
Tell me what is real and what is fantasy in these situations:
– People sitting at the same table in a restaurant or bar (who are in-person friends) all texting others who are not there;
– Drivers in cars watching their smart phone screens instead of traffic all around them;
– Children who text their parents from their rooms instead of walking into the same room to talk;
– Facebook members who brag about having 5000+ “friends” when research proves that the human mind can accommodate a mere 150-or so friend relationships;
– People who call out or disrespect others using Facebook because they lack the guts to communicate directly;
– Unlimited texting is more popular than unlimited talk on cell phones;
– Twitter is replacing email systems as the preferred method for some corporate communications;
– When you meet someone they ask you if you are on Facebook or Twitter before they ask for your phone number or other contact information;
– People know you by your photo on social media and don’t recognize you in person;
– Interactive voice recognition (IVR) computer systems block access to real people when you need help desk support – sometimes there is no possible way to reach a live human being who can solve your problem;
– The only way to bypass circular menu systems and reach a live person at banks or cell phone providers is to say “Cancel service”;
– When people say “I’ll call you right back” it usually means they are bored of talking to you and will often text instead of calling back;
– “Events” from Facebook or social media fill out your social calendar where you mingle with mostly people you don’t care to meet again;
– Life becomes more isolated, more self-reliant, more independent, and less connected (even though it seems you are ultra-connected!)
Perhaps it is a sign that I am getting old, but I long for the days gone by when people went to restaurants and bars to meet and mingle rather than post photos and check-in on Facebook. I’d like to go out “with” people who are not tethered, have a real date with a guy who isn’t constantly checking his email, and have good conversation with friends who are truly interested in my life and vice versa.
While it does happen from time to time, the reality is that nothing that was real yesterday (true communication, compassion, connection, and genuine interest) is real today. Technology is supposed to be a communication “enabler” but I’m wondering just what kind of “enabling” it is really doing to our life today.
Is anything (or anyone) real these days or are we all living in the fantasy of virtual communication?
Wishing you genuine connections with real-life people!
- Anti-Social Media (onlyagame.typepad.com)
- Does Integrity Matter in Social Media? (customerthink.com)
- How has social media changed your life? (thecontentlab.icrossing.com)
- I Deleted My Facebook and Have No Regrets; Here is Why (uloop.com)