When was the last time you met someone who didn’t own/use a smartphone? Not in recent memory, right? Well, that simply shows to what extent the gadget has become integral to our lives, our daily functioning. Reading the daily news, listening to music, banking, e-mails, conferencing, collection of personal health and work-out data, storage, navigation, recording audio and video, booking a cab..the list of ‘can-do’s is pretty extensive. Internet is another primary player in this scenario. Most of these applications require its users to stay connected to the web. That said, are we dependent on these 4-5 inch gadgets a lot more than we’re supposed to? The answer seems to be a resounding YES!
Each one of us (including myself) seems to attribute a slice of our happiness quotient to the smartphone-internet combo. When friends meet after a while..selfies galore. When you go to a fancy restaurant..food pictures overdose. When you attend a concert..live recordings aplenty. Because as they say, shit never really happened unless it was posted on social media right? Or so we have tailored our brains to believe.
Put two strangers in a room with their phones (with free wi-fi, ofcourse!) and they’re more likely to devote a higher attention span towards their phones rather than getting to know eachother. And by chance if they actually bothered to get to know eachother, probably even that has to go on social media..”made a new friend..chilling..blah..blah”. Forget strangers, nowadays even when (extroverted) best friends meet, it still becomes mandatory for ’em to check their social media notifications every third minute, to check if someone swiped you right on Tinder, whether that check-in got posted properly, whether those work mails returned undelivered and what-not (take a breather, you damn workaholics!).
In this age, it is indeed no surprise if you met your soulmate with the assistance of smartphones and social media. The world is getting faster, and so are our (internet-sourced) relationships. However, are we inadvertently falling more in love with the added features of our smartphones and the vast possibilities that the internet extends, than with the people operating those devices? It’s tough to tell. With all those filters, smileys and emojis, it has become all the more difficult to decipher what’s really going through the minds of people. Nonetheless, we can’t just blatantly ignore the fact that our lives literally depend on it. We feel alienated from the outside world if we’re asked to live a few days without smartphones and internet connectivity. But, its definitely do-able. Probably, those moments are when you actually get to know your true self. In fact, this would be the easiest way to test the virtues of patience, endurance and self-restraint in an individual these days [I’m sure the world agrees! ;)].
Do 90s kids remember their childhoods? Yes, we had our share of gizmodo in the form of 8-bit video-games and walk-mans but even those were just supplementing the overall fun (like say, an excuse to stay indoors on a rainy day when the folks at home kept saying that playing cricket in the rain would get us bed-ridden; or helping us remember answers for exams through lyrics of songs that we’d listen to, in between exam-breaks, while at school). We got our first internet-supported CDMA phones in/around 2007 that used to get piping hot if a call was made for more than 10 minutes. And dial-up internet..what a joke! We have seen more load-screens and sand-glass icons in our lives than the number of times we’ve had bruises on our knees.
And yet, in the present day, even with all that connectivity and various platforms to keep eachother updated, people still don’t talk to each other any more the way they once used to. Lovers turn into haters with just two clicks (relationship status: committed to single, LOL!), best-friends turn into just-friends faster than 2 minute Maggi, and friends end up being mere acquaintances or ‘people we knew’. We shouldn’t forget the fact that there were plenty of sleepless nights (in the past) that never elapsed without having a long de-stressing landline phone-call with the best-friend circle or lover. Now, long phone-conversations are slowly being replaced by voice-notes..fast and convenient yes, but that lack of personal touch is clearly evident. A Skype conference can, by no means, recreate the affable vibes of a chai-shop conversation. Yet, these are the only alternatives we’re sometimes left with.
Imagine a day off without smartphones or internet. We’d all be in rolling in our beds like lazy sloths, perplexed and not having a clue on what to do. And eventually, we’ll decide to get our sorry asses off the couch and go for a long walk on the beach and enjoy something as simple as a sunset (sans pictures!) which would, otherwise, never have been on the agenda. Hence, let’s make it a point to reduce constantly looking at our phone or laptop screens, save those bonafide chuckles more for those brunch plans, random meetups and coffee-breaks that we all so righteously need, in this era. Set a deadline for yourself every day when it comes to staying online (depending on your routine!). You’ll be amazed to see how much time you have for other productive things instead. When it comes to the people front, argue, fight, flirt, emote all you want but ensure to do it more in person (atleast when circumstances allow you to!). Makes all the difference sometimes (you know your heart is telling you to do so and it’s the willingness that counts)! 🙂