I posted yesterday about useful apps that can help us streamline our crazy-hectic lives. But while technology is great for advancing our productivity and allowing us to do so much more than we could ever imagine, there are consequences to our obsession with smartphones.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how mobile devices are changing our daily interactions. When I’m hanging out with friends, we can’t help but pull out our phones to check texts and email or Twitter/ Instagram/ Facebook/ Tumblr feeds. Sometimes, being disconnected for too long leads to anxiety and an irrational fear that we’re missing out on something.
But, in reality, what we’re really missing out on is connecting with our friends in the moment. How many times have we had to repeat ourselves because someone was too busy checking their phones to listen? And how many times have we tuned out colleagues while they’re talking because someone uploaded a hilarious picture and we just had to comment on it?
I’m definitely not the only one feeling this. It’s just the reality of the times we live in. But I’m getting so sick of it.
I recently read this widely shared Aziz Ansari interview with A.V. Club (which you should definitely read right now if you haven’t already), in which he talks about how difficult it is to find love in this digital, social media age. Although I can’t relate to the dating bits, I think the commentary is relevant to any area of human communication today.
The interview also links to interesting articles on the topic and this amazing TED talks video:
Everything Sherry Turkle says about how damaging our plugged-in lives are for human communication and self-identity is so relevant and necessary. Our obsession with online and virtual versions of ourselves is so ridiculous that we now have an app that can post tweets for us, even after we’re dead.
As I mentioned in my last post, I was initially very against getting a smartphone because seeing people turn to their cell phones during a conversation was becoming a pet peeve. And I really didn’t want to end up doing that to someone else. For the most part, I’ve successfully avoided checking my phone incessantly, and I expect the same respect in return.
I’d hate for our generation to lose the ability to communicate properly, and I think we can all start by putting away our phones and not being afraid to ask friends and colleagues to do the same. And don’t worry, our virtual identities will still be there when we log on again.