As a product of the ‘Why don’t you (just switch off your television set and go and do something less boring instead)?’ generation, I find it somewhat ironic to be writing online about our increasing connection to the virtual world at the potential expense of our connection to the real world.
However, many of us are aware that we are increasingly dependent on our digital devices. We used to wake up, stretch to switch off the alarm and head for the shower. Now it seems we wake up, stretch to pick up our smartphones and check our emails on the way to the shower.
When we get some good news, we rush to update our Facebook status or send out a tweet. We send e-cards and e-gift vouchers. When our children want to play tennis, we switch on the Wii. We don’t tell each other jokes so much anymore – we forward them on via email. When we want a recommendation for a film to see or a restaurant, we go online.
The internet, social media, and all the associated technology are amazing and powerful tools which allow us to be connected globally in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Whether they’re allowing us to see what was actually happening on the ground during the Arab Spring, to respond instantly to disaster appeals or simply enabling us to stay in touch with friends on the other side of the world, our digital devices can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives.
I wonder though whether we are becoming more disconnected from our immediate surroundings. Am I really connecting with those most important to me?
This weekend, I’m going to try an experiment to try to improve my loose connection with my family and friends. We’ve invited friends over for a face-to-face chat rather than us catching up on Facebook; I’m going to call a friend I usually email; I will write to my dad enclosing a recipe rather than just send him a link.
Most drastically of all (and even the fact I think this is drastic indicates to me just how strong the pull of the digital world is), I’m going to stay away from the computer and my smartphone for 48 hours.
Today’s pebble for you to turn over and consider:
Is your connection to the digital world stronger than that to the ‘real’ world?
If so, how do you feel about it?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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