Friday, 8 February 2013

Social networking.... Less "social"

So on Wednesday I had a friend pick me up and take me out to lunch... Nothing special just a normal day, I was hungry, he offered to take me to lunch, I took him up on it. But that's not the point of this post. Am not here to brief you about my boring life and lunch dates or whatever you may choose to call them. Am here to talk about how much social networking has made us less social. Lol I just sounded like am giving a speech there didn't I? Any who; back to why I felt the need to address the social networking issue....
I was picked up at 1:25pm, I sat in the car did the occasional hugs and salutations then pulled out my phone signed in to twitter, starting chatting away on whats-app and scrolling down my Facebook news feed. We drove around town running some errands and finally settled at Javas for lunch. We entered, got offered a table and took a minute or there about to make our orders. Then as we waited for the food to come; I picked up my phone again... same routine. Check twitter, Facebook  instagram the list goes on and on. The food arrived and I suspend my phone for a while with the occasional sneaking a peak at my twitter time line. fast forward... Lunch is done, we head back to office at 3:00pm, I get out of the car and thank him for the lunch, adding that it was fun and we should do it again some time. Then he asked me a question that left me speechless "How was it fun when you were on your phone the whole time?" Now anyone who knows me will tell you I always have something to say... Speechless is almost not a word in my dictionary. But I guess there is a first time for everything. So I smiled and said "just It was" and he shook his head and drove off as entered my office.
As i walked through the corridor i was once again scrolling through my phone till I got to my desk realized my battery was low and plugged in the charger and put it on charge. So in a way I took a break from the phone.
I sat at my desk, Opened my laptop turned it on, logged on to Face Book  Twitter and then as i was going to open my yahoo My friend's question came flashing back like a sharp sword through the heart and it hit me. This whole social networking has made me anti-social. I had just been out to lunch with an old friend and even if someone had put me on gun point and asked me what he had been wearing i wouldn't have a clue, or what we had talked about, i wouldn't have much to say. I do however remember that he was mumbling something but my mind was totally zoned out of the convo and more focused on the activities taking place in the virtual world.  I was more concerned with what was happening on the Phone and virtual world and I was missing what was presently happening around me in real-time.
It got me thinking how much of the real world was passing me by while I was busy giving my phone all the attention, a phone that can be replaced any day in fact the next month by the latest innovation from Xperia.

Ever noticed how much attention we give our phones these days? They own us...although we are delusional enough to think we own them; You could be out at a party and see almost everyone with a smart phone pull out their phone and start to chat away... or embark on their social networking activities. We can hardly eat a meal in peace without checking our phones twice. We hardly pay attention to our peers in conversations because our mind is focused on what is happening on the virtual scene. Even when we are in meetings and are not allowed to be on the phone, we don't pay full attention to what is happening in the meeting, we are more concerned about when the meeting will end so we can check our phones.
 I recently attended an IT seminar at Serena and everybody there had a smart phone, So during the coffee breaks instead of us getting to know each other or bonding over the latest technology, it was mostly 'Hi' and back to phones, tabs or whatever social networking device they had.
This is saddening, Friendship has been reduced to whats-app, twitter and a Facebook like on your status. People rarely call each other. We are letting the important things pass us by as we focus on the imaginary virtual world.We rarely pay attention to our friends, its no wonder the depression rates are going up. Humans are programmed to receive affection and that includes hugs, handshakes, a pat on the back, a shoulder to lean on, a meaningful conversation and without these life gets harder to endure. People have real problems and a smiley on whatsapp of a hug just wont cut it. Sometimes a listening ear is all it takes to make a whole difference in someone's life. We really need to re-think our people skills with this whole "social networking". Let it be more SOCIAL than Networking.
Don't let the important things in life slip right under your nose because you were too occupied with your smart phone to care or notice. The people we have in our lives have a purpose and they will never be replaced but your BlackBerry will. Matter of fact i just replaced mine with the Xperia. In a nutshell What am I saying? Have more time with your friends and family, and I mean really be there for them, Mind body and soul. When they are no longer with you you wont have regrets. And just remember your smartphone wont give you a hug and tell you it loves you. Just saying.

Tanya Love 

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