In a day and age where technology infests every aspect of our daily lives, it's hard not to get lost in the connection. Now, more than ever, easy communication has united every corner of the Earth through the convenient touch of our fingertips. So much so, that even real life seems to appear as a digitalized mirage. It's no secret that social media has driven us farther apart in real life, but what future of face to face interactions looks dim if we continue to allow our devices to control everything we do.
Every time I go out to a party or "social" gathering with my friends, the same theme is always repeated. Music, lights, food, drinks, and people are always present, however, over half of the party is on their phones. Ironic, too, because these events are essentially held to bring groups of people together - at least they are supposed to. Not to mention, the overall vibe starts to get a little awkward after a while of the only sounds being of music and profuse thumb-tapping. I mean, how are you supposed to break that ice?
At the same time, our daily dialogue has only gotten, at best, divided attention. I can recall several instances in which I am telling a friend a story, or having a conversation with someone and after two minutes or so they will look down at their phone and check through their social media. All the while, I am still talking, only to notice this out of the corner of my eye and pretend to be okay with it because it's simply something people do.
The same thing is to be said about pretty much anything we used to consider a face-to-face encounter. Going out to eat, hanging out, concerts, school, and unfortunately, even driving. And at a point, it starts to become simply rude. Naturally, you would assume the rules of social etiquette have no expiration date, however, that is not the case. Apparently, they are merely altered to fit the conventions of the society in its present state. But how long can that go on until we have no humanity left?
As a society, we are so preoccupied with maintaining an online image, that we have completely lost sight of who we are to the core. We are humans (obviously), but every indication of the human experience has started to diminish. Our emotions, opinions, desires, and personalities have become as superficial as our online profiles and we have become engulfed in a world of fabricated networks.
I may sound like a hypocrite saying this, as you may be reading it according to a link I shared on one of my own social media profiles. And don't get me wrong, there are really a lot of upsides to having social media in our lives. And, if it weren't for Odyssey, I wouldn't even be able to share this idea in the first place. In its essence, it's both a blessing and a curse. Nonetheless, though, it has consumed who we are at an alarming rate, and it only seems to be expanding exponentially.
But the difference lies in how you utilize it. I like to think when in public, and other than switching the song I have on, I stay off my phone. I was always taught to put it in my back pocket or away when I went out to eat. I would never even think to look at it when I'm having a conversation with other people either because I absolutely despise when it happens to me. Other than when I'm alone or checking my email, I hardly ever take it out when in the company of other people. Sometimes I even feel foolish to expect someone to do the same because obviously, the newest text notification is more important than anything I could ever have to say.
Social media in and of itself is not social at all. It's all a facade, and that has translated into real life.
However, if we want to maintain our humanity we have to come to this realization unanimously, and actually, do something to change it. Real life shouldn't be as awkward, delayed, and superficial as it has become. If everyone before our generation was able to get through life without the social connection we have now, then how come we can't do it? We can save ourselves for now, but we only have so long until we know nothing about each other.