I spend a lot of time focused on social media. Maybe too much time. In any case, it is important to remember that social media is not all there is to being social. This is brought to my attention more than usual this week as we celebrate Christmas and New Years. This is traditionally a week when many of us spend time reconnecting, visiting, and enjoying family and friends. It is also a time when you realize just how many of us feel naked or disconnected without our mobile device in our hand.
Be honest. Did you share a holiday meal with family and / or friends? Did someone at that dinner table have their cell phone in heir hand or on the table during the meal? I bet most of us have to answer “yes” to that question. Maybe you are guilty of it yourself. I know that many have what we consider valid reasons for this. Some will have sons or daughters or moms or dads in the military or elsewhere and no one wants to miss those special phone calls.
Too many of us are guilty of this “cell phone at the dinner table” habit and expect nothing more than to check email from work. Unplug. Try it. Life won’t end if you leave your phone out of reach.
I have found that if I separate myself for the mobile device and social media world for at least an intentional hour or more a day, that I am usually in a more relaxed mindset the rest of the day. I will purposely leave the mobile devices in the office, and go sit outside for 30 or 45 minutes. Maybe I opt to go for a walk instead. Again, leaving the phone behind. What if something happens or an emergency arises? Well, let’s just pretend it is 1986 instead of 2016. We will handle it. Even if I choose to go for a walk on a fairly remote trail near the office, it is rarely that I am alone there. Pretty safe bet that very few other people all decided to leave their phones behind. Risk it! You might even find that doing life without your cell phone at your side all the time is addictive.
Okay, try this. The next time you and your spouse are headed out for a meal together, ask if they are taking their phone. Their answer will most likely be something like “Well yes, why?” Watch how much the conversation is improved when you answer with ” Well, because I want to leave mine home, so I can focus on our time together”. Seriously guys… it is like flowers and chocolate all mixed together.
I am not slamming on mobile devices, and it is social media is as big of the issue as the technology that makes it so convenient. I am as bad about this as anyone. I often use social media to help me carry on a conversation. I skim whats trending on twitter and then hear myself say something like “Did you know that so and so died this morning?” or “Did you hear that such and such a famous basketball player got arrested for a DUI this morning?”. Really? When I stop and realize that we spend money and effort to bring this kind of timely news into our lives, I am blown away trying to imagine life without it. Can we imagine a day when you talked about something that actually effects our current location?
Okay, what’s the point? I didn’t start out to make this a rant, although now it kinda has that feel to it. No. My point simple is that this is the last post for me of 2016, and I find myself reflecting on how much time too many of us spend doing social media rather than living socially.