Your intruding footsteps’ echoes greet you from a hallway filled with headphone-laden, half-cognizant students idly waiting for classes to begin.
Finding a space against a wall, you begin noticing the piercing silence from the crowd you mazed through, buried pollex-deep into their phones.
The awkward tension forces you too to bring out your mobile-crutch as you wait, scroll and wait.
We’re all guilty of it, whether it’s to procrastinate or to give the illusion of being busy. Being around strangers is uncomfortable, so why not connect with the familiar? Is this just a new societal norm, or are we slowly becoming incapable of interaction outside of our phones and social media?
Unfortunately, this habit isn’t limited to universities or the age group that’s become the face of the social-media generation, such as college students. Children and adults alike are now phasing into this dependency for constant connection, creating a now perpetual, impersonal network. Understandably, those who aren’t socially acclimated see the influx of social media mediums as a way of expression, connection, and preferred perception without direct persecution. However, it seems that the attention gained from likes, retweets, and double-taps are of more importance than personal interaction. But why?
During my tenure as a server, it was common to watch groups eat in silence as they scrolled through their social-medias for the entire evening. Obviously these people were acclimated enough to share a meal, but were consciously replacing the direct communication. Some restaurants have gone as far as installing signal jammers and canceling Wi-Fi service to combat the lack of interaction.
The ability to transcend beyond personal interaction can be seen as a societal advancement, in context, where there’s no harm done in wanting stay connected.
But when regulations are created to cease phone use during work, class, and driving due to constant distraction, disruption injury or death, we must address that we face a larger issue than a simple habit.
Due to an advancing technology-driven world, connecting with people through social networks is utilized for convenience. Are we now at the beginning of technological singularity, or is this simply communication incompetence where social-media fills the gap?
As you walk through campus, the store, or the city, look around. Take in the world around you with feasting eyes and deep breaths. Open your mind to the scale of life and suddenly what matters online can’t compare.
Instead of Snapchatting every occurrence, live for the moment, rather than try to capture and immortalize.
Instead of updating your status or tweeting your thoughts to the world, share them with the people around you. It’s time to disconnect, and learn to reconnect.