How long has it been since you last checked your messages, your emails, you social media pages, whatever? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone that did not consist of hashtags, or even the latest gossip you saw on twitter? When was the last time you told someone how beautiful they look or that you love them. . .to their face?
Today, our iPhones have caused us to become so invested in "I." We keep connecting to chargers so we can continuously be disconnected from the world around us. We sit countless hours on social media when the reality is, these apps cause us to be anti-social. Kids now see #1 and ask, "What does hashtag one mean?" As to which I respond by actually SMH. Our own phones even say hashtag now, it is no longer the pound symbol.
Our measure of self-worth has become determined by how many people follow us or by how many people hit a button to "like" our photo and status updates. We find meaning in what people comment on our profiles, both the ones that bring us up and the ones that tear us down. Social media allows people to say whatever they want without consequences. Fights break out and people say things they would never say to someone in real life.
We have everything accessible to us at the touch of a button. We have become so accustomed to quick answers and replies, people get offended when we do not reply right away. A text message is suppose to be something that you respond to when you can; it will still be there, it can be put off. If it was urgent, shouldn't we call?
What happened to snail mail? You could take the time to hand write a letter and send it to someone to show you care. Now we can send snaps and emojis that are not tangible. They disappear and can become forgotten. Where did the joy of seeing someone sent you a letter and being able to keep it for a smile later down the road go?
How can we expect to know someone for who they truly are, if all we see is what they want us to see through 7 different types of filters? How can we know people when we hide behind screens all day. We consider FaceTiming someone as a face-to-face conversation. We are able to have full conversations with someone behind a screen, but once see them in person, we say nothing. We stare down at our screens, keep walking, and say nothing.
I wonder what would happen if we were to just look up. Instead of filming something, maybe we could look up and remember the memory. Maybe instead of showing people our unicorn frappachino, we just drink it. What would happen if you put your phone on airplane mode and didn't check your Instagram while you have a meal with a friend? What if the next time you were low on battery, you didn't panic to find a charger, but saw it as an opportunity to look up? What would happen if we stopped obsessing over whether we have the latest update or not? What would happen if we just looked up and saw each others faces without a filter?
Stop looking down, trying to make online contact, and start looking up and making eye contact. Show people you care, and give them your love instead of a thumbs up. Take a step back from the distractions of the mobile world, and come back into reality. If we step away from our touch screens that cause us to lose touch with ourselves and others, we may be suprised at how many more meaningful connections we make. We must disconnect in order to reconnect. So, put down your phone, close your laptop, turn off your television, and #lookup.