Alone Together

I came across these novel terms in a magazine not too long ago.  I found them funny but also sobering.  They are a running commentary on our great but sad plight.

Novel Terms about Smart Devices as seen in More Magazine, photo credit (c) Likeitiz

Novel Terms about Smart Devices as seen in More Magazine, photo credit (c) Likeitiz

My hubby has forever stuck to his firm belief that you can find a love story in every movie. Even Saving Private Ryan. Even Schindler’s List or To Kill A Mockingbird. He tells me they are all love stories when stripped of all the pomp, flash, and character extensions.  So is every book, he summed up. Even Mary Roach‘s Gulp!

This brings me to the well established belief that everyone just craves acceptance, friendship, connection, love.  However, how each person goes about achieving it has and will vary depending on a multitude of factors, both internal and external.

The burgeoning world of the internet, social media, and smart devices has increased the ways and occasions to meet people, connect, establish relationships of various degrees.  Or has it really?

Glued to the phone. People in a mall in Bangkok use their smartphones and tablets around a fountain.  A recent Facebook-sponsored study shows smartphone owners are often connected all day. People can be found glued to their smartphones even while crossing the street, creating a disconnect with their immediate surroundings. AFP Photo/Photo Courtesy of hindustantimes.com

Glued to the phone. People in a mall in Bangkok use their smartphones and tablets around a fountain. A recent Facebook-sponsored study shows smartphone owners are often connected all day. People can be found glued to their smartphones even while crossing the street, creating a disconnect with their immediate surroundings. AFP Photo/Photo Courtesy of hindustantimes.com

How may times have we seen families sitting at a table in a restaurant and each has their smart device inches from their faces?  They are not really interacting with one another.  I have casually observed people on a date of sorts, but constantly checking their phones for messages and social media posts.  How can we have a decent, continuous, intelligent, and meaningful conversation with anyone if we’re constantly bombarded by texts, tweets, posts, reminders, or calls from our devices?

There are many times when I believe the smart devices and the sense of connectivity it pretends to provide has become a crutch, or even a defensive barrier to rejection.  “Oh, if I seem inept at conversation and you find me boring, it’s not because I’m incapable of interesting and intelligent ideas. It’s really because I’m so busy and inundated with messages from my hoard of friends as evidenced by my device periodically pinging and chirping.”

Whatever happened to the art of conversation? Or the genuine interest in other people  as people instead of self-promotion and each person’s Warholian fifteen minutes of fame being replayed repeatedly to get that elevated feeling of self-worth from posting a status?  Are we now a generation of narcissistic self-absorbed green juice drinking yoga pose promoting bunch?

I happened to read a blog post on YeahWrite’s featured blogger, Travis Peoples, “The Nostalgia of Sandbox Etiquette.”  In it, Travis laments a very similar malady.  Go see what he has to say about this.

Photo courtesy of Getty Press/il.nsn.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Press/il.nsn.com

The internet has succeeded in fostering our isolation in spite of connecting us together at the click of a send button. We’re all together in this vast digital web but we’re also more alone than ever.

It’s so easy to fall prey to habitually checking devices. But really, it’s disrespectful of the people you are physically with at that moment.  Our kids have called us on this when we see them for visits.  We too have become attached to our devices.  It was good to be reminded.  It was good to be reprimanded.  And, it’s always good to say, “I am with you at this moment. And only with you.” How hard can that be?

 

This entry was posted in Blogging, BlogHer, Daily Post Challenge, Digital Devices, Facebook, Smart Phones, Twitter, YeahWrite and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Alone Together

  1. Pingback: Multi-Tasking Or Distracted Driving? | Not the Family Business!

  2. seeker says:

    Next, carpal tunnel syndrome.

  3. Great post. I so agree that social media has destroyed the fabric of conversation. Until this year, Tom and I both mentored students in our home and the first rule they had to learn was to turn their phones off and place them in a basket when they came in the door. iPhones are not on in our home after 4:00 p.m. If anyone wants to reach us, they must call the land line.

  4. lidipiri says:

    Oh my!!! I completely agree with you. On the other hand, there are many who I would not be in touch from my past or new ones had it not been for social media. One thing is important and it is that we retain respect for who we are physically with and give them our full attention. But even when we didn’t have media reachable at all times it was hard to find someone that just listened!!

  5. Kim says:

    My husband and I are so guilty of being glued to our phones, especially me. I already spend a good part of my day online only to be glued to the phone as soon as I walk out of the apartment. Fortunately, we are capable of putting them down and having real conversations with friends and others but it does occasionally require a bit of a nudge.

    Thanks for sharing this. Posts like these are a great reminder (and lesson) that we do need to stop tweeting and start talking face to face. There’s so much to see and do in this world and so many wonderful folks to meet.

  6. rarasaur says:

    I’ve never been a phone person, but it is hard to pull me away from a computer altogether. Still, when I’m away, I’m away, and it’s always disheartening to see people passing each other without really ever seeing each other! In other words… I get this. :)

  7. larksnotesthis says:

    I really enjoyed this post and Travis’s over at Yeah Write. We’re always connected and we’re so disconnected. The notion of being very reliant on technology for human interaction just seems so paradoxical.

  8. munchow says:

    I very thoughtful post – to which I completely agree. It is indeed disrespectful of people you are together with to all the time check your virtual connections. Interestingly enough social media do connect us more than ever, but the conversation is mostly gone. We all just shout out our point of view – but how often do we take the time to actually ponder what others have said, written or expressed?

  9. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Some of the minutiae that people share is tedious in the extreme!

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