Last time I knew, being social meant hanging out with friends.
Like, actually being in the same room as our friends both mentally and physically.
I feel like social media is the polar opposite of what it means to be social. It used to be that being social was laughing with your friends (not LOL-ing), smiling at a passing stranger (not almost bumping into them while texting), or striking up a conversation with someone in line at the store (not online, and not on Tinder, for GOD sakes not on Tinder).
And smartphones are at the epicenter of my qualms.
I got one of these androids in June of 2012. Looking back on it I realize that this certainly wasn’t one of my better purchases.
All my friends had one and I really felt out of the loop. “A computer in your pocket? What a great idea!” I thought. “How convenient,” I mused.
I have come to realize that having the world at your fingertips is a trap. The smartphone has done the opposite of what it probably intended. Now that everyone is always looking at their phones, the world expects us to respond… immediately… dropping anything we might be doing and ignoring where we ARE.
The internet in our hands was supposed to connect us to the world but what we’re losing sight of is the real, physical, beautiful world around us. Life is right next to us, right in front of us, out past that emoticon, past that selfie, and just beyond our blurry, text filled irises.
I teach a class to college students and they are the worst when it comes to cellphone usage. Anytime I take a breath during my lectures it is as if I invite them to check their phones, lest they miss something important. (I am teaching them CPR, mind you, talk about important?).
My distaste for smartphones and texting in general has risen as I’ve found more available time to sit and stare at the damn thing. Being single really amplifies the silence of your cell phone and, somehow, it can even make you feel more alone (of course it can do the opposite as well). But since when have we (or I) allowed a piece of technology define my mood?
This is a major problem and I’m certainly guilty of texting or Facebooking at inappropriate times (the first step is admitting you have a problem?). The next step is making concerted efforts to seek connections outside of the little mega-pixeled screen. Come to find out, actual interactions with warm-blooded people are really rewarding, people appreciate when you actually listen to them, and non-text conversations reveal much more than their antonyms.
And there are some beautiful things to see in our world; things and moments that can be missed while we are all trying to be social.