In the last decade, life has been transformed dramatically by the ever-evolving technology in the world. Phones, computers, music-playing devices, TVs: everything is getting smaller and “smarter.” At the heart of all this lies social media. These sites pervade even the smallest aspects of our lives. Social sites are a dime a dozen, and they taking over traditional forms of communication. Now, it is traditional for everyone to have a Facebook, and for your friends to follow you on Twitter, communicating to you through distant means. Despite the growing social media industry, people are becoming less social and more consumed by their electronics to the point that normal social interaction is awkward. What is going on?
Growing up, I didn’t have an iPad to play games on. I didn’t have a computer, or a laptop, to do homework on. I didn’t spend hours on social media sites, like thousands of young kids in America. When I wanted to play a game, I pulled out a board game or my deck of trading cards. When I wanted to do homework, I perused the classroom textbook for answers. Instead of spending hours on the internet, I spent hours riding my skateboard around the neighborhood with my friends. Truthfully, those are some of my fondest memories I have as a kid. The innocence of my youth was changed by the experiences of life, and the evolution of technology.
In today’s world, homework answers are a click away. Friends are at your fingertips through your phone. There are limited inconveniences in life when you have the convenience of a smartphone. The culmination of convenience and efficiency has resulted in always-changing technology. While some men such as Steve Jobs may have had somewhat pure motives for the development of technology, not all businessmen have this mindset. What it all boils down to is the structure of our capitalist system: the producers want the general population to consume their products. And… we do, myself included.
An example of the breakdown of social interactivity is the creation of social media sites. It seems ironic that I bring this up because of the simple fact that the word “social” comes up in the name. However, I would argue that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram take some aspects of social interaction out of the picture. The act of being social with others is merely reduced to getting a photo with them to post on your accounts later. It’s sad, if you really think about it. People go through the motions of sociability, and believe that they’re being social, despite their lifeless actions. Instead of spending time with the people in front of us, we spend time with the people on our News Feed.
Do you find this article speaking directly to you? I know this to be true of many people, and I do include myself. The first thing I look to when I wake up in the morning is my iPhone. It wakes me, keeps me entertained, allows me to stay organized, keeps me informed, and is most likely the last thing I look at before going to bed. There are so many great things about technology that it actually requires us to take a step back and actively think about how it is affecting us. We purchase products in hopes of owning it, but, in fact, it ends up owning us. So, what is to be done about this? Well, as in all areas, we should look to God for answers about our struggles. The world tries to entangle us in this web of distraction, and mindlessness, that makes us conform to what everyone else is doing.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NLT
There is nothing wrong with owning a smartphone, or using the internet throughout your day. The real problem is whether or not your devices are enslaving you to them. Social media sites are great too, but are you spending more time with a phone than you are with your family? Evaluate where you are today, and decide if maybe you need to make some changes to your daily routine. It is also great to bring some personableness to your social situations. Instead of sending a text message, make a call to someone you care about. Instead of posting a message on someone’s Facebook profile, take them out to dinner to show them you are a true friend. There are tons of ways to go the extra mile to and demonstrate how you feel about your loved ones; just don’t allow the “social” devices of our day turn you into someone who is unsocial.