Too Socially Advanced?
Question: Have we become a generation that uses technology to hide-away from true face-to-face dialogue? Do we use technology as a means to hide our true selves or to fool the masses into thinking that we are something that we are not?
I have slowly started coming to the realization that just as technology, social-networking and social-media have advanced, so too are we both regressing and digressing from our ability to be socially coherent in a face-to-face situation.
I, myself am not innocent of this not so petty “crime” and I have noticed that I find it easier to send someone an email, a tweet or even a text as opposed to plucking up the ‘courage’ to give someone a call. So folks, has technology turned us into a ‘mildly’ social-phobic people? Do we use it to hide shyness? Anxiety? Unwanted personal traits? Looks?
Think about this: When we are eating dinner with the family or we’re out with friends or even just watching a movie, how often do we find ourselves furiously typing on our Blackberry’s or Social-Networking applications instead of being sociable with those around us? Just the other day, I was out for dinner with my sister and some friends and at the end of the evening we all found ourselves using our mobile devices – “Tweeting”, “Whatsapping” or “BBMing”. As a joke (or somewhat experiment), during that time, we decided to speak to each other over “Whatsapp.” Low and behold we found that the conversation was buzzing wildly over this application as opposed to the face-to-face dinner talk that took place earlier that same evening…Is that not saying that something is radically wrong?
I asked myself the above questions after I was given a job that entailed calling up different speakers to address a student audience on specific matters. After being asked to call certain people that were unknown to me, I found myself texting or even ‘Whatsapping’ them rather than merely just calling them to ask if they would be willing to chat to the students. Then, things gradually got worse, if they would call or even if one of the speakers who I knew well would call, I would allow my voice-mail to answer it and respond via text or email. Soon I started using this method with anyone who called me on my mobile – my teachers, lecturers, old friends and even my closest of friends.
So, what did I do to get myself out of this terrible and unsociable habit? I forced myself to be more sociable of course. Slowly but surely my social-confidence beagan to trickle its way back into my face-to-face and ‘over the phone’ contact and communication. Now, I force myself to answer my phone wherever I am, (as long as I’m not driving or in the middle of a conversation). In addition, I make it my business to actually chat to people in person (and not just over a social-networking applications). I have made it my business to be sociable while I’ m out with friends or having dinner with the family.
Whether it be answering an unknown number or relaxing with a close friend, I know that if I am going to beat this ugly bug of technological social-media advancement, I’m going to have to work extra hard on being a real social-butterfly… Who’s with me?