The internet and social media have allowed us to become more connected than ever. We can send someone who lives across the other side of the world a quick message – and get an instant reply. But what͛s happening with our day-to-day communications? On my lunch break, I was sitting with five of my friends and all of us were on our phones. We were sitting in a busy and noisy breakout area.
Coffee was being made, meetings were happening all around us, and I͛m sure people were having in-depth conversations about politics and the news, but we just sat there, completely absorbed in what we were doing – and we were silent. We didn͛’t say anything to each other for 10 minutes; yet we didn͛’t question our behaviour.
I think I was on social media, and someone else was playing a mobile game. We just came from working on a computer for hours, to now staring at another screen on our lunch break. It wasn͛’t until after our lunch break ended, that I realised how we were all acting – and none of us questioned it at the time. We͛re becoming more connected than ever, and disconnected at the same time. Social media and the internet has allowed us to get in touch with people from all over the world, but what does that say about us and the physical world?
It could be said that, the more we delve into the ͚online world͛, the more disconnected we become from the ͚physical world͛. The ͚online world͛ is changing how we think and behave. It has its good and bad points, but are we so absorbed with the things we see online that it can affect the way people feel about themselves in the ͚physical world͛? There͛s the age-old argument about magazines portraying the ͚perfect body͛.
Magazines typically show airbrushed women appearing to have flawless bodies, which, in turn made some women feel self-conscious. Now this has become more widespread, with the help of the internet, this doesn͛’t only affect women, but men and children alike. The latest, most followed family on the web is the Kardashians. Loads of people have recently paid thousands to look like some of them.
Is it fair to say that they are no longer themselves? By becoming absorbed with how the Kardashians appear online, they͛’ve forgotten their physical self and their own personality.
We͛re human, we all have personalities and quirks, and I think the ͚online world͛ makes us forget that. I͛m not going to go into philosophy and solipsism, but to get back in touch with our real, physical self, maybe it͛s time for us to have a break from technology. We need a digital detox. Ironically, I found out about digital detoxing on the internet, at digitaldetox.org, but they have outlined some good points and statistics in relation to our digital problem. They believe that we need to ͚disconnect to reconnect͛.
To get away from the online world, we can get in touch with ourselves again. We can find our personality again, not try to live/look like someone else, and interact with our friends. TheDigitaldetox.org states in their manifesto: we need to ͚pause and reflect and reconnect͛. Next time I͛m sitting with my friends on my lunch break, I͛m going to make sure to stop, put my phone down and strike a real conversation. If we all do that, we might become better connected – in a human way.
Hopefully, we͛ will be influenced by the conversations we have with people in person, rather than what we see online. Just take 10 minutes out of your day, and start doing what others did before us. Talk in person, maybe write a letter – go out and experience the offline world.