Devices can be divisive.
About two months ago, I took to heart quite seriously a piece Bill Maher did on our addiction to iPhones and social media. As I listened to him do his shtick, I nodded in agreement, thinking all the while of those people who can’t stay away from incessantly checking their iPhones for new posts on Facebook or email or for new texts.
Yup, I was thinking of poor them existing without a life outside of technology until a thunderbolt slammed down upon me and I rudely awoke to the fact that THEM is ME. I am one of THOSE PEOPLE.
Now I must boldly stand before you, much as I would at an AA meeting and proclaim, I AM addicted to social media.
I love to post and then check back frequently to see who “Liked,” “Loved,” or, better yet, “Shared,” what I posted. Somehow my ego gets a little boost when that happens. That boost is like “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? You are, only you.” Yikes! The better part of that telling admission is that I feel validated for being able to articulate what others agree with. Even when I get negative backlash, well, I tell myself, at least they’re reading.
I love to check one of my five e-mail accounts (three are for business – does that count?) a few times an hour, and, as for text messages, well, they’re like popping M&M’s … so easy to send and receive multiples each hour.
I never stray far from my phone.
If I’m on the couch reading, knitting, or watching TV, my phone is right there. If I’m in the kitchen or in my office, my phone is right there. If I’m outside on the patio, at the store, or visiting with friends, my phone is right there. When visiting with friends, however, I won’t answer my phone if it rings unless it’s an emergency, and it’s never an emergency.
I NEVER text and drive !!! But, as soon as I get out of the car, the first thing I do is check my phone for any and all new communications or updates.
Since January 21st, the first thing I do when I wake up is look at my phone (years ago, it was to light a cigarette). Now it’s to see if we’ve been bombed or are bombing.
“But, but … I take a ‘no tech’ day a couple times a month,” she says defensively, to no one. I have kidded myself by thinking a day or two of unplugging from all electronics is truly reducing my addiction to social media. I usually warn everyone on Facebook that I’ll be away for twenty-four hours and to please hold that thought. So, I’m not fully disengaging, I’m just putting my connections on hold.
Is there no hope?
How bad is it that my phone is practically velcroed to my hip? Is it a beginning indication of the breakdown of personable interaction? Or is it just a passing fad that will get boring and go away on it’s own?
It is convenient, I’ll say that much for it. Especially since I don’t enjoy talking on the phone.
But what does it say about us that we’re all (okay, almost all) walking around looking down at a device that keeps us from seeing and appreciating all the wonder that exists around us?
I’m not sure about you, but I’m paying closer attention to the power this device and it’s connection to social media has over me and my life. I’ll let you know how it goes.
P.S. For a modern Twilight Zone-ish look at the negative power of accessing social media on our phones, check out Netflix’s Black Mirror, Episode one, “Nosedive.” It’s chilling!