In the Absence of Interaction

The other day I was sitting with a group of friends, when one person in the group told us how he  had to replace his smartphone with an older phone and that he had to get  rid of Facebook app alongside many other apps. I’m guessing the experience was relaxing

Think of it this way, when other people’s business isn’t in your face, you are no longer involved in their lives. You are only involved in your own issues. When you want to see people or talk to them, you actually have to make plans to see them. When you are working you are actually getting things done and you are not checking your social media accounts  between tasks. Most importantly, when  you are talking to  people instead of texting them, nothing is misunderstood and if it is, you have an opportunity to clarify what you actually mean. When you have a certain view about something you are forced to express it, so I can imagine that life is more relaxing without those apps.  Let’s  face it modern technology may have cut the distance between us but it replaced that distance with a void in our understanding and our ability to express ourselves.

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Whether we like it or not,  we are living in a world that conveniently enables us to hide our feelings behind text messages, mobile screens, computer screens, the social media, and in the best of cases a pointless phone call. We don’t discuss anything, solve anything, or even agree to disagree on anything, we just shoot out our random opinions to a huge audience  and wait to see how the people involved will react.

Let’s look at it this way, in the past people had to actually meet face to face to communicate, socialize, or even resolve their issues. Today, a simple message on Watsapp will do. The scenario usually works like this, one person sends their “Hi, how are you” on watsapp. The other person replies “I’m great and you”, the first person then has the choice to continue this conversation or not. In some cases the “Hi how are you” is even left unanswered, read for sure, but unanswered, meaning that the other doesn’t even feel obliged to reply. The same applies to conflicts, a message can remain unanswered, meaning that the conflict is resolved in silence, with the only resolution being an issue unresolved.

ATM-Texting-vs.-calling

Another unproductive way to resolve the conflict is for all people involved to just block each other and put each other on reject lists, thus closing the door on any prospect of listening or even understanding the other point of view. Thanks to social media and modern technology these are our new tools for problem solving.

At some points in my life, I  was sucked into this trend and I have been guilty of doing all the above. I’m not proud of myself, and I did stop.

keep-calm-i-know-you-blocked-me-on-whatsapp

However, I do see why many of us may like this approach. After all, it is too easy. It leaves out the awkwardness of having to deal with situations we don’t want to deal with. However, we do miss  out on the other party’s facial expressions, immediate response, and true feelings.

Let’s all own up to the fact that any immediate reaction is more genuine than the one made after hours or even months of thought. The person sending the message didn’t exactly spontaneously do so. He/she probably sat, thought about it, and then sent it. In more extreme cases a person with a big mouth may have even consulted with a few people about it before sending it.

Similarly, the people receiving it didn’t have no reaction at all to it. We are all people and we all react.

long-distance

In a nutshell,  we live in a world that takes out the  prospect of anything happening spontaneously. When our phones ring, we are given the convenient opportunity to see the name flashing before us on the screen and then deciding whether or not we want to reply. When we get a text message it is the same story. Compare that to the scenario where someone shows up at our door. With that person is at our door, we are forced to face them , deal with them, and even form some reaction to them even if that reaction was simply us slamming the door in their face. So thanks to social media we hide while deleting people from our lives day after day.

We don’t even have to go out and make new friends anymore, as we entertain ourselves on the social media. We even call it socializing, but is it?

Are we really socializing?  Are we having a normal conversation when we are commenting on someone’s photo, his/her cooking skills, his/her random status, or when we are expressing our admiration for a post that someone shared off someone who shared it off someone else?

We didn’t do any of that spontaneously, we thought about it and then decided to hit that like button.

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Forget the joy of calling your friends and family and telling them that you may have found your soul mate, as now you can just update your relationship status and share that intimate news with everyone and anyone who claims they know you. I say claim here, because  come on, none of us have over 300 real friends. If they were our real friends then really we must be too popular.

We are glued to our phones, and we panic if the battery dies simply because it is our link with the world. In a world where everyone lives in isolation the phone is our only way not to feel lonely, and yes no one wants to be lonely.

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Please don’t misunderstand me,  I am not a hater of technology. In fact I love it. I love Smartphone’s, laptops, iPods, you name it. I can’t hate technology, after all my blog is the product of modern technology. In fact. modern technology has provided us with a wealth of information at our finger tips. It has enabled us to share our views, to write freely, and to promote ourselves and our talents, and it has shortened the geographical distance between us and our loved ones living abroad. But is it making us more isolated?

The big question here is, is social media making us in fact anti social? Maybe we need to give ourselves a reality check each time we realize that we are texting and not talking, talking in a screen  and not meeting, or calling and not actually sitting face to face.

Personally, I am a person who enjoys socializing and honestly,  I still prefer to talk face to face.

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