8:00 PM *Phone vibrates*…answers text message. 8:05 PM *Phone vibrates*…replies to Snapchat. 8:06 PM *Phone doesn’t vibrate*…checks Instagram. 8:09 PM *Phone vibrates*…answers text message. 8:14 PM *Wonders why phone isn’t vibrating*…checks text messages. 8:18 PM *Phone doesn’t vibrate*…checks Twitter. 8:19 PM *Phone still doesn’t vibrate*…checks Twitter again.
This series of events tends to be the typical time frame for checking my phone on a daily basis. And if I just so happen to be studying for an exam with my phone on silent, don’t worry, you can find this same pattern happening with all of my roommates too. It’s almost as if we should be concerned if our phone doesn’t light up with someone trying to contact us, or buzz with notifications saying “so-and-so liked your photo” or “XYZ sent you a snapchat.”And if someone of interest does happen to double tap that red heart on Instagram, isn’t it rational to go into a two hour conversation with your friends trying to decipher the [hidden] meaning behind it? “Does he like me?” “Is this his way of flirting?” “Does he want to date me?” “Should I go like one of his pictures now?” “Maybe I should Snapchat him.” Many people will read this thinking how this is what everyone does; how this is “normal.” But is it?
No. Just no.
Communication is changing. People are changing. The world is changing. Everyone is becoming too reliant on their cell phones and all of the factors that come with it. Every morning begins with individuals clicking the home button on their cell phones to see what text messages or Facebook posts they missed while they were sleeping. Then, they will proceed to check their email to see whether anything important was sent to them, and most likely delete the promotions sent from the stores that now forward them the email subscriptions that they accidentally agreed to sign up for. Afterwards, it’s important to click on the Weather App to decide how to dress for the day, and whether they should bring an umbrella or extra jacket. Don’t forget to check the Calendar App to see if there is anything important that you don’t want to miss on your schedule for today. You might also want to play a quick game of Candy Crush to try to beat your high score before getting out of bed. The common theme here: obsession. Obsession with needing to know what all of your friends are doing. Obsession with how many likes you got on your last Instagram post. Obsession with what is being talked about in the group chat. Obsession with technology.
Now of course there are plenty of perks that come along with this new world of technology usage. Communication has far outdone itself in the sense that it is easy and fast for an individual to talk to any other person at any time of the day through the various social media platforms, despite how far apart they are. We really take advantage of this capability, not thinking about how this was impossible a short time ago. Society has come so far in terms of sharing information; anywhere from a newscaster tweeting live from a crime scene, or Taylor Swift posting an Instagram announcing her new concert tour dates. The use of technology is extremely helpful in generating new ideas, creating new bonds between people, and connecting the entire world.
However, being that these technologies allow communication to occur so easily, people have become lazy and rely solely on this technology to interact. Phone calls have become less and less used as the main method of communication in comparison to text messages, let alone in-person conversations. Emoticons have taken the place of real emotions, and have basically eliminated any sort of empathy felt throughout a conversation. The ability to analyze a person’s posture, facial reactions, and body movements during conversations used to be a crucial component in communication; but these skills have quickly diminished in place of emojis. Half the time, an emoji is just used to continue the conversation when you don’t know what to say next, completely overshadowing the original purpose of the emoji. These emojis definitely do not serve as a replacement to real emotions, and people from generations before have trouble resonating with these extreme changes in expressions. At this point, technology and media have actually become alternatives to personal relationships, rather than compositions or substitutes.
After checking out this article, I really noticed how topics of conversations are even affected by this change in technology, focusing more so on dialogs that revolve around “small talk.” The article claims that individuals do this so that it is easier to leave the conversation if your phone rings or you receive a text message. The discovery of the “rule of three” really made me take a step back because it claims that “in a conversation of five or six people at diner, you have to check that three people are paying attention, heads up, before you give yourself permission to look down at your phone.” As crazy and absurd as this rule sounds, it is extremely true. I read this out loud to some of my roommates, and everyone agreed that they are guilty of doing this; they just never realized it until now. Conversations end up just being extremely light when some of us are only paying attention to our phones, and I definitely notice that when cell phones are not in the picture, we have more meaningful conversations. We as a society really need to work harder at putting our phones down and become real humans again.