I didnít post on Facebook today. I didnít upload a photo to Instagram or a video to YouTube. Today, I didnít exist.
Thatís what it seems like for those of us who Ďmustí regularly post, tweet, upload, like or comment. One of our 20 something client service staff had her mobile phone stolen and was without it for three weeks. It was purgatory for her – and for us. Being off the social grid is like being off life support.
In the old days people kept diaries. Every night they confided their deepest and most personal dreams, fears and aspirations to a book meant only for themselves. It was part confessional, part friend. There was never any judgement or comments from others. Your diary was sacrosanct; it was for you and no-one else.
How quaint. How boring.
Now if what we do and feel is not there for the world to see and judge, weíre somehow diminished. Thereís only one thing thatís worse: if one of our posts gets no likes or comments.
Itís ridiculous isnít it. Call it an addiction to social validation or to our mobile phones; either way, it has to have an impact on how we interact with the world.
Try walking down a busy street and see how often youíre almost bowled over by someone walking the other way engrossed in their mobile phone. As for the impact on car accidents, the numbers Ė according to a US National Safety Council study Ė are terrifying with 1 in 4 accidents caused by Ďcell phone distractioní.
Is there a solution? I canít think of one. As technology permeates every corner of our lives and increases our slavish consumption of social media, our values are changing. We seem to care less about what we personally see, touch or smell and more about what we read, watch or listen to.
The sad twist in the tail is that so much of what is posted and consumed on social media is trivial beyond belief. Photos of daily cups of coffee, pets, inspirational quotes, selfies at the beach, child standing/walking/swimming etc. This is the content thatís so vital eye contact canít be established or the road watched.
If this is a younger generational thing, what will the next generation cling to? Or given that everyone under 35 seems so obsessed with their digital world, perhaps there wonít be another generation.
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