“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…..including you” – Anne Lamott
Have you ever really thought about how much time you spend using technology? We live in a world that is driven by technology and the irony is that I am on a cellular phone as I type this blog. Our daily lives have been consumed by cell phones, apps, computers, tablets, game consoles, satellite radios, televisions, social media, and emails. We use it for travel, business, school, work, conversations, and learning. You can’t even pump gas anymore without watching a short video or infomercial advertising a preventative maintenance product.
As the world evolves, so does technology; and so does our social lives. We forget about the human element in society and any relevant conversation gets consumed by some form of electronic, multimedia device, or social networking post. Unfortunately, the first step in the oldest form of communication has now become the last. The first step has been replaced by communication in this order.
- Text message
- Social media
- Phone Call
- Last – A face to face conversation
A large portion of our society doesn’t even want to hear others voices anymore; they would rather solve the world’s problems via text or social media. If you want to know anything about a persons life anymore, just check Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, or Twitter. How many “friends” do you have on Facebook that all at all costs you would avoid if seen in public? I have often wondered what impact technology will have on society as it relates to psychomotor skills, human behavior, and social skills. The best connection you can ever have with another human being is face to face conversation. Absolutely nothing, in my opinion, replaces social interaction.
Understanding body language, verbal/non-verbal cues, and eye contact are irreplaceable elements of communication. There is actually a real smartphone addiction disorder, called “nomophobia” (fear of being without a mobile phone). This is often fueled by an internet overuse problem, internet addiction disorder, or another underlying issue. After all, it’s rarely the phone or tablet itself that creates the compulsion, but rather the games, apps, and online worlds it connects us to.
I challenge all of you to take a moment to reflect on some of these things:
- How much time do you spend each day on electronics not related to work?
- How many conversations have you had remotely that needed to happen in person?
- How much time do you actually spend on social networking applications?
- How many relationships do you have that are built based solely on social media?
I think we are all somewhat guilty of momentous compulsive use of these platforms that can have an adverse impact on work, family, and relationships. I challenge you to do a self-examination of this as it applies to your own life by asking yourself the questions above. I am sure we could all do a little better in some of these areas. Technology in itself will always be a necessary, evolving part of society with both positive and negative implications. It’s always up to us how we choose to use it. Let’s try to unplug for a little while and re-connect with those that got lost in translation.