Today…it just hit me

Path Screenshot of my run
The craziest part of this screen capture is the ultra low battery level

In almost every bio I use on social media sites, I typically describe myself as a “self professed social media nerd” (sometimes geek, depending on my mood). Aside from my constant social media addiction, I also like to run. When I run, I use the Nike+ GPS app to track my runs and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Path (I know, some people hate it, but I’m damn proud of surpassing my goals and I’m gonna boast about it!). This past weekend, I forgot my headphones. Ugh. Now instead of the distraction of pulsing beats and moving rhythm, I was going to have to listen to…nature. Not exactly motivating, but I carried on undeterred.

Without my distraction, as would be expected, I started paying a little more attention to what was going on around me. I saw a family of four: the dad fishing, the mother, son and daughter dipping their toes in the water. I noticed people walking their pets. I noticed people lazily lounging in the shade and on benches. One thing that every one of these people had in common, was they had their noses buried in a smartphone. I could’ve ran up carrying a giant sized, Warcraft style battle axe and attacked the guy walking his dog, and he’d have been none the wiser. As a matter of fact, had I not changed direction, we would definitely have collided. There was a couple walking side by side, not saying a word to each other, but both furiously texting away. And the family? The only one not on a phone was the dad, who had his hands full with his fishing rod. Now I’ve caught some flak from my girlfriend on more than one occasion for pulling out my phone to check-in on foursquare (I’m hooked on the gamification of trying to accrue mayorships and beat my friends in points) and logging a funny quote from the evening immediately on Facebook. I still manage, however, to find times to disconnect. I truly think we still need to do that.

Photo from TED.com

In her TED talk, “Connected, but not alone?”, Sherry Turkle discusses how this constant connectivity not only changes what we do, but also who we are. It changes the way that we relate to others, but also the way we relate to ourselves. It’s a very interesting and definitely worth a watch. The generation that is growing up with this technology may develop an inability to actually relate to other people, especially face to face, and not develop the crucial communication skills they need to form real relationships. She makes the case that people may eventually prefer digital connection, or even connection to a digital device or robot, to real human interaction. Interesting and terrifying.

On that happy and joyful note I leave you to think about this. Also, if anyone out there is using Path, send me a friend request. I literally only actually know 3 people on there, and I have one more person that added me and I excitedly accepted. I’d be willing to add randos if I know we have something in common. Thanks for reading. Now it’s your turn. What do you think about our constant connectivity and how it affects our relationships? I’d love to collect people’s thoughts into a follow-up blog next week, quoting some highlights, so please give your feedback below!

Now go get your social on!

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Author: robzie

I am a marketing professional with a specific interest in creating connections through social media and digital marketing. Confessed coffee addict, social media nerd, and office supplies junkie. Feel free to contact me and start up a conversation!

5 thoughts on “Today…it just hit me”

  1. I think about this often. I must say, at times, I hate the internet! I hate how connected we are and how often I realise it’s controlling my life! I NEED it to be able to talk to my fiance in the US and so have a computer and skype on almost everywhere I go. I long for the day he is here in Australia with me forever and I can unplug that modem and forget about Facebook.

    Sometimes I like to run with my headphones in, but not actually listening to anything. Sounds a bit crazy I know, but you hear your heartbeat louder and of course those huffed puffs – but I like to watch and see what others are doing, other peoples running styles, sometimes hearing some amazing phrases from people sitting and chatting, or as I run past them (thinking I can’t hear them because of the headphones). I definitely feel that we are becoming the kinds of people who don’t feel connected without being plugged in somewhere, but at the same time, when we are actually with people, we are “checking in” at places, instagramming, tweeting, apparently doing everything other than talking to the person we are telling everyone else we are spending our time with! It’s strange, and I’m definitely guilty of it (whenever I am out and my fiance is awake, I will usually check my phone to see if he has texted). I am determined to disconnect though, not fully, but when appropriate. I love my trips to see him in the US, my phone doesn’t work there and we spend our 2 weeks camping, hiking, seeing his friends and family (who check us in to places on Facebook lol), but it feels so good to shake off that addiction to technology… At least for a short while! It definitely poses interesting questions of what our future will be like, what future generations will grow up to be like.

    Great post, and if I knew what Path was (I’m obviously not that connected!) I would definitely friend you and try and put your run times to shame – hey, we need healthy competition 😉 OH, and I love TED, amazing resource, one of the things I would miss if I had to give up the internet!

    1. Thanks for the great reply! I think you deserve a bit of a pass with your husband being in a completely different country, though. It’s those of us who have the ones we love right there beside us while we’re furiously texting or Facebooking that should taken note of this TED talk. I’m in the thick of it, no doubt, and that it kind of what spawned this post. I spend a minimum of 10 hours, a day between work and home, participating in social media. Sometimes, you’ve got to look away from the screen.
      Thanks for checking out my blog, and if Path has support in Australia, it’s on! Although, go easy on me if you’re an advance runner. I’m just starting to get there (I just finished my first ever 10k last week!). I wrote a review on it here, and check your app store for whatever device you have. It’s a mobile-only social network (no computer interface at all). Thanks again!

      1. Ha, you are assuming that when Rex finally moves here I will actually turn away from the computer screen! We joke that we will have to say goodnight to each other from different rooms on different laptops to feel normal!
        I’m totally sure that Path is in Australia, I’m just not tech savvy, probably out of laziness as I have enough tech stuff for work that when I get home, using another app is not what I look forward to! But, I am definitely not an advanced runner! I have been on a kind of body transformation and so have lost around 120lbs, check here for the before/after photo http://elizamiddleton.wordpress.com/on-transformations/weight-loss/ – needless to say running was a new thing to me too and I’m still improving! Great work on your first 10K. I’m running one in about 3 weeks in Dallas when I fly in, should be great fun, though it is scheduled the day after I land, so it will either kill me or cure my jet-lag! We’ll see!

      2. Wow! Amazing feat! Good luck with the 10k. It’s already topping 90 degrees here in Austin, so you will have some heat to contend with in Dallas. You can do it though. Just, y’know, hydrate. 😉

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