Back To Reality

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Today, I made one of the most harrowing mistakes of my life: I went to the mall during holiday shopping season. After a few short moments of sensory overload I had to sit and regain my bearings. While seated, I observed the hundreds of stressed and tired people streaming by. It was alarming to see how many had their eyes buried in a screen.

As I increasingly find more satisfaction from not perusing social media, I was surprised at how many people were engrossed by it. Not only was everyone oblivious of my glances, but I watched a couple for close to ten minutes stare at separate devices without saying a word.

One of the qualms my wife has with social media is the stripping of surprise in conversation. Whatever you might have discussed with that semi-close friend is now moot because they saw it on Facebook. In the hope of virtual likes and comments, we have sacrificed real-world conversation and the ability to learn more about a person from there own mouths.

After my car accident recently, I decided against posted pictures of my new ride on social media. The result? I've had many real-world conversations about it as people ask and notice it. If they had already seen it on social media, I doubt they would ask about it in person.

So should we abandon social media altogether? Of course not. The only place I see photos of relatives living far away is Facebook and Instagram. I gleam 95% of my news exposure from Twitter. But perhaps we can intentionally choose to save a conversation piece for real life, face-to-face discussion. Maybe we can choose to learn more about a person by actually talking to them as oppose to scrolling through their feed.

Stephen Roblessocial media