This past weekend I was on main street Unionville, a street known to be filled with the sounds and scenes of summertime in Markham (a city just outside of Toronto, Canada). The stroll down the street that late evening was different than the ones I’ve had in the past. There were tons of people (as usual) but their heads were down, looking at their phones. Pokémon Go was the culprit.
Most of you reading this know of the game. For those that don’t.. Be sure to try to avoid the game as much as possible, the less you know the better, trust me.
Anyways, I feel this obsession with being connected to the internet makes people miss out on important events in life in 2 specific ways:
- Missing out in the present
- Missing out on the future
You’re at the bus stop. It’s a typical Tuesday morning and you’re waiting for that bus to head on to wherever you’d like to be. School, work, the gym, whatever you do. There are many people with you waiting at the same bus stop. Standing there, bored, maybe you’re still waking up from that not so decent sleep you had last night, you unknowingly, in fact, instinctually pull out your phone and open some sort of application that connects you to others that aren’t in your direct physical presence. You’re missing out on speaking to these people around you. To engage in healthy conversation, conversation that our socially instinctive race has always thrived on. Conversation that could build you real, face-to-face relationships. When did followers become more important than real friends? I’ll tell you when. When social media ended up in the hands of all of us with a phone that was originally used to receive and make phone calls. Yea it’s not just you, it’s me, and every other phone-head that the internet gave birth to.
So you’re engrossed in Instagram, great! All these photos, editing, #nofilters, likes, comments, follows, amazing right? Wrong. Some odd years ago I noticed I’d lost sight of the future that was in front of me by being so consumed by social media. A non-existent virtual bridge of communication, connecting myself to others just as consumed in their own self-promotion. Had I not became aware of my infatuation with the internet/social media, I would have lost complete sight of my goals for the future. The present would be all that mattered. Doing the next, “cool,” thing in life just to take a photo and show others that I did it. Luckily I never got to that dark place & I hope you reading this hasn’t gotten there either. If you have, it’s time to delete all those apps on your phone and to go through what I call a hardwire reset.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Having this conversation with someone and then hopping onto the gram right after to check who’s liked a photo you recently posted doesn’t do any good. Change is needed (subtract any cliché you attach to that saying). There’s really no need to have a conversation about social media taking over the relationships we could potentially be making at that morning bus-stop. Instead, just do it. Go through your days with a smile and enjoy a conversation with someone you’ve never said a word to before. If you’re doing this for the first time, it could be a little nerve racking! Heck I enjoy conversation with strangers all the time and I still find myself nervous in some situations. One of my favourite actors and idol Matt Damon once said in an interview that he, “Made the decision not to be nervous,” when speaking with the legendary Tom Hanks.
So when you’re out there, do yourself a favour. Make the decision not to be nervous. It’ll be the best decision you’ve ever made.