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.
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!
Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents. Download the app and then follow this link!