The “Lost Connection”

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I am an inveterate people watcher, and lately, I have witnessed something that profoundly troubles me. WE CAN’T SEEM TO KEEP OUR FACES OUT OF OUR SMARTPHONES FOR EVEN A MINUTE OR TWO. Some people call it an addiction. Others call it an obsession.

For example, how many times have you seen someone pat their pocket and smile, having been reassured that their phone was still safely nestled close at hand? How often have you experienced “phantom pocket vibrations” where you felt a tingling near your pocket area—or wherever you keep your phone—only to discover that rather than the alert or notification you “thought” you just received what you felt was just some neurons near the surface of your skin randomly firing? A few years ago I would have just reached down and scratched that itch. Now I am supremely disappointed that it is only an itch.

Going anywhere for a vacation, walking around tourists-frequented spots,  I could not find one person who was not gazing into a phone, even those who were traveling with others. My friends around the world tell me that they see the same behaviors. The other day at a  party I watched a young woman dining with her supervisor pick up her phone while he was talking and check her Facebook. And the more interesting part is that he kept on talking to her and didn’t seem slighted at all. 

Last summer, my wife and I, took a road trip with some friends and visited some of the most beautiful scenery around the area traversing four top class tourists spots along the way. One instance we hiked all the way up to a magnificent mountain peak  only to find that since there was a cell connection up there nearly every hiker was looking down rather than out at the magnificent vista. And those who were looking were busily snapping pictures instead of simply looking and experiencing the magnificent views. I doubt whether they can have the same experience of nature through that small lens. Will those who were taking videos get the same enjoyment by reliving the views rather than experiencing them? Will they even watch those videos again?

Another interesting and somewhat troubling observation is that many young people, and a lot of older ones too, carry their phone in their hand. I often ask them why and the answer is always the same: “So, I know immediately when I get a text or an email or someone posts on social media.” I guess taking a second or two to take that phone out of a pocket or purse is not soon enough in our tech-rich world.

And I find it amusing (and somewhat disconcerting) that people even make excuses to escape whoever they are supposed to be spending time with so that they can check in with other people who may not even be real-life friends. Sometimes when my wife and I go out to dinner with friends (or other acquaintances) I am bewildered at how many people put their phone on the table and if it vibrates they interrupt whatever is going on to tap a few keys and return to the conversation often asking, “What did I miss?” Some people call this FOMO—Fear of Missing Out—but by choosing to not miss out on their virtual social world they are missing out on their real social world right in front of their face.

It is sad that this technology which was supposed to connect people is (actually) making them disconnect from each other in person.

I am still a believer in the major benefits technology brings to our world but I sincerely hope that what we are seeing is just another pendulum swing where we become so excited about something new that we want to use it obsessively and as time passes we become less captivated and use it less often until the next new thing comes into our world and the pendulum swings again. But the observer in me shakes his head and wonders whether the pendulum has reached its apex yet and, if not, what that will do to our relationship with the world and the “real” people who inhabit it. I remain optimistic.

Photo credits: Google photos

28 thoughts on “The “Lost Connection”

  1. Read the article and you’re right in saying that many people nowadays really place value on wrong things. The fact that some do post articles with the intent to deceive is somewhat alarming. All of us must exercise due diligence in order to be sure of the things that are happening around us or the news we’ve been getting are true.

    Interesting article indeed.

    Like

  2. Unfortunately, I think there’s an addictive factor that makes people behave this way. There’s probably a science behind it, but I’d like to believe that we could get past that too. Just as you hope.

    Yesterday, I read an article about a girl removing her grandpa’s life support so she could charge her phone. I searched about it (knowing news could be fake at this age). Thank goodness it was just a hoax. However, the fact that a lot of people could believe in that kind of article shows that a lot of us do place value on the wrong things these days.

    Here’s a link if you’re interested:
    https://www.snopes.com/girl-disconnect-life-support-plug-in-charger/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. The psychology social media uses on people to keep them hooked! Are we truly in control of the technology we have created or is it the other way around?

      I’ll certainly check out the link 👍 I’m interested about it ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Andrei. A great message for the digital obsessed world. Fear of Missing Out is the latest and the most evolved bug that appears to be increasing the strength of its strain with every passing day. Other than self realization and reminders like this one, there is no antidote to cure this disease. Not an addict myself, I recently read in the newspaper where one of readers are requesting if there can be a ‘SMART’ hour like the Earth hour where we make real connections and keep all gadgets away. Well, only time will tell where this digital world is heading to but until then these reminders will help our little children and us practice wise use of digitization before it swallows us whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pranitha!

      It’s an interesting idea you shared – SMART hour. Human connection kept humanity survive amidst the various “changes” we face at a constant phase. It’s truly important to realize that nothing still would equal to the direct connections we make, especially with the ones we love and those close to us.

      So long us we have the chances to create that connection may we be mindful enough to take those chances. For me, deep talks and quality times with people (face to face) are still the best than countless times talking in Facetime.

      Thank you Pranitha ☺

      Like

  4. Pingback: Sustaining Quality Friendships in this Tech-crazed Times – SimpleWay ™

  5. Totally agree. The last time we went to watch a movie and reached 20 minutes before the theatre opened, I decided to sit and just look around. Every head around me was bent over a mobile phone. It’s sad. People dont make eye contact anymore and are totally disinterested in the real world. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. A very well-noted observation Smitha. It has also become hard to strike a genuine and indulgent conversation these days. Also, just notice how people spend their idle times – all focus glued to the screens of their smartphones.

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                      Like

  6. I totally agree with you…

    I have a cell phone more for the integrated camera than for the phone itself. I am glad I have it, because it is a security I didn’t have before, in case of an emergency (then again, EVERYBODY else has one, so it is not such a necessity).

    When I leave home, my phone is always on vibration, in my bag. I rarely catch my (very few) incoming calls, and sometimes make people wait for days after a text message… When I am out, I like to consider that I have the right to be unreachable. For me it feels like freedom.

    Great post Andrei, thanks for sharing 🙂 It is always nice to read you 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Things are good… My two weeks vacation in September slowed me a little for a while, but I am getting my blogging mojo back 😛

        A lot of us are very busy these days, don’t worry about not having the time to come by 😉 You’re always welcome!

        Have a great week! xx

        Liked by 1 person

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