Are you ever with a group of people, even people you are very close to, and you look up and all of them are on their phones? Or maybe you're behind in the conversation because you missed a snap or a post everyone is talking about? Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with someone, and they are scrolling through Instagram only half-listening to you, and when you finish what you're saying they look up and ask what you said?
We live in a world of automation. Everything is at our fingertips. Why talk to your friend when you can have a conversation with billions of people over social media? Why talk to the person taking your coffee order when you can just tap a few buttons and have it ready on a shelf near the door? Everything is faster, more convenient, more entertaining.
But what we gain in efficiency we lose in other aspects of our life. Face-to-face communication is constituted of a series of snap chats. No one knows your order; there's no more putting a face to a coffee. No one knows anyone anymore. It's debatable whether we even know the people closest to us.
And getting on board with these changes is not a choice. It's a must. To keep up with your friends and family you too have to put our lives online. How else would anyone know where you're going to college, or who you're dating now? If you don't have social media, what are you doing? Is there something seriously wrong with you? Are you one of those people who is doing the whole living-off-the-grid thing?
We even risk offending people; not being constantly on your phone is grounds for rudeness. If you don't respond quickly enough, people will assume you don't like them or that you're not interested. Popularity isn't how many people you know but how many followers you have; it isn't how many people like you but how many likes you can get on your over-edited picture.
There aresome positive aspects to technology. Social media allows us to connect with people around us or people who we aren't in close proximity to. Facetime and skype allows us to see people we don't see every day and we can communicate our feelings to our friends in a series of funny gifs. I also won't deny that I love the Dunkin Donuts Perks App just as much as the next girl. But it's when online connection starts replacing real life encounters that I wish we were a little quicker to draw the line.
Most days, I wish I lived in a world in which there was no technology, in which no one had a phone to hide behind. I wish everyone would just talk to me instead of to all the friends they have to text over the phone. I wish I could hear people's voices over the phones instead of read their texts; I wish phones were tethered to the wall instead of stowed in our pockets. I wish people would write letters to me when they had something important to say. I treasure all the letters anyone has ever written me.
I'm scared we are going to become too out of touch with the world around us. We're already in the process of transferring everything online; soon there will be nothing left. There are real problems happening around us and we have to lift our heads often enough to see what they actually are.
I'm scared that we'll not only lose touch with the world around us but also with our loved ones and even ourselves. We spend more time on our phones in a day than we do talking to our friends or family, even though we live with them. We put false representations of ourselves on social media in hopes of deceiving people around us that we lead perfect lives and let ourselves believe that everyone else is perfect, too.
I'm scared for my relationships and how others perceive me for not wanting to follow the way of the world today. I'm scared for where technology is going and where it will bring us. But above all, I'm scared that we're too far gone.
So when you can, talk to your friends. Order in the store instead of on your app. Call your mom instead of texting her. Seek connection in everyday life, seek life through little ways. Hold the door for people and smile at them when you can. Hold onto laughter and the moments that you feel alive, because those are moments you never find in your phone.