Will this phenomena help make us a better society

Though we are more connected than ever worldwide, we live in a disconnected world. From texting to social media to walking around with earphones in 24/7, we’ve separated ourselves from the immediate world around us. At what point do we become too involved with our mobile devices?

The next time you’re in an airport, take a look around at the number of people with headphones on. I remember the first time I was ever in an airport; I had a half hour conversation with a man sitting next to me while we were waiting on our flight. I was 12 and nervous about flying for the first time. He could tell that I was scared and he started talking to me about books and school (they were my two favorite subjects), calming me down so that I was more excited than afraid. Now, everywhere you look, people are being entertained by someone that’s nowhere near them. No real connections are had with each other or even acknowledgment of the moment itself. We just sit there, listening to music, watching TV shows/movies, or scrolling through our newsfeed on Facebook. You can even buy headphones in vending machines in case you forgot your own. Suddenly, the simple act of striking up a conversation with a stranger has become foreign territory.

While I was at dinner the other night with friends, I noticed that nearly everyone had their phone in hand. Not all of them were looking at it, but it was in hand, ready to check should anything beep through. We happened to get into a discussion regarding the new blockbuster hit Godzilla. Someone asked when the first movie came out and everyone with phone in hand immediately turned down towards their screens in order to look it up. Sure, having the information right there at your fingertips is handy, but more often than not, using your collective intelligence to remember some long forgotten information is more fun. In fact, the one who recalled the correct year (1954) and even knew when it came into the states (1956) did not have his phone on him. Since when have we come to rely solely on technology to tell us things we probably already know, or at least have a general idea of the correct answers? When did we forgo the intelligent discussions in order to rely instead on the ask-the-question and look-up-the-answer discussions? I miss the times when we could try to remember as a group the actor’s name in A Place in the Sun (Montgomery Clift), the last year the summer and winter Olympics were held the same year (1992 in France and Spain), or the lowest temperature recorded in a Minnesota winter (-60̊ in Embarrass, MN on February 2, 1996).

Will this phenomena help make us a better society, better nation or world—basically being disconnected face to face in a “connected” society? It’s a strange irony when you know more about your online friend’s personal life than you know about your real friend’s. What is your take on the matter?

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