We all scroll our latest news feed on Facebook. We do it while sipping our morning Joe, during lunch hour, right before we fall asleep, and, dare we say it, during working hours. It’s become a social normal to scroll the latest news about Trump’s next move or your best friend’s vacation in Mexico while on a coffee date with someone. Although we are more connected with large scale, national opinion and events, we have become disconnected to the local environment from which our natural state operates. We have become a tech-savvy yet socially unequipped society. Thanks Mark, we appreciated the global contribution of Facebook to “make life easier” but we might need to rewind and consider what life was like before that blue labeled website.
I was having coffee with a friend in a café lounge last week and everyone has a LED glow on their faces. Sitting, scrolling Facebook feeds and occasionally discussing the topic of interest with the accompany person. I asked myself “is the personal contact between the physical friend in from of them genuine or, had the cell phone not supplied a topic to talk about, would they still converse about other thing?” It now seems individuals search Facebook as a source of subjects to start conversations with other people, rather than discussing things that related to them locally or personally. This is a intimate connection that is gradually being lost. Many individuals forget to ask how your day at work was or if you had a nice weekend. Instead, the questions are concerned around whether or not you’ve seen the latest headlines or social gossip from your click.
As a way to get away from relying on Facebook to entertain me or work as a medium for entertainment among my friends and myself, I gave up my smartphone. Being Episcopalian, I decided to give up my smart phone for lent and switch to a basic, old fashioned flip phone until lent was over. Admittedly, this was extremely difficult considering working a full-time job, not being able to freely access the internet, no Spotify while driving and most of all, having to openly converse without a conversation topic generation from my news feed. In return, I became much more aware of my surroundings, began reading window posters to seek current events instead of a Facebook event invite, and became much more productive because I no longer had a 24/7 time bandit. In essence, it was like I had admitted myself to technology rehab to reconnect with my senses on the local and social level.
Ultimately, not everyone’s position allows them to completely give up a smartphone to reconnect. However, as parents, adults, and a unified community of interacting individuals, we need to scale back on being technically social and increase our physical socialness. It’s not a matter of downloading an app that turns off your data for a set period to discipline yourself, it’s a mindset change to actively live in the now and absorb the environment around you. As for me, I continue to remain in a new reality of active socialness and am yet to give up my beautiful, black, outdated flip phone.