Almost anywhere you go people are plugged in to some sort of electronic device. They’re either texting, calling on their cell phones or can’t hear anything going around them thanks to their ear buds. Others are busy spending countless hours on Facebook and other social media sites. Is being plugged in really so bad?
I started thinking about this the other day while walking my little dog, Misty, in the woods, a fellow dog walker passed us by without so much as glance in our direction. Instead of listening to the birds sing and the breeze whispering through the trees, ear buds were firmly affixed to each ear making this guy oblivious to his surroundings. Afterwards, I stopped at my local barista and as I sipped on my iced latte, I couldn’t help noticing how many of the people around me were sitting there absorbed in texting. They were as oblivious to what was going on around them as the guy walking his dog.
Plugging in itself isn’t bad, but like most everything else in life, it’s the overuse that’s not good for us. Think about it this way, if you connect with someone personally you are better able to communicate. You will be able to experience the personal interaction and subtle nuances of their facial expressions and body language. You get to actually hear them laugh instead of the rather sterile LOL. And just as important, you can actually give your friends a giant hug. There is warmth, power and love in a touch. Ahem, imagine the benefit of that touch to your intimate relationships.
Imagine if you’re out walking your puppy, you will be able to actually notice fellow dog walkers. Maybe even meet someone new, make a friend and have more fun. Imagine you’re in a barista with friends having fun sharing stories and laughing at the latest crazy thing that’s happened in your lives. Imagine being able to share your smile with someone and brighten his or her day because you’re actually able to notice them. Imagine that.
So, keep on texting and enjoy Facebook, but don’t do these things at the expense of experiencing the joys and fun that life offers. Laugh and converse (as in really talk) with friends. Take the time to actually see and hear the beauty in nature. Don’t become zombified by your cell phone. Enjoy your social media experience, but not at the expense of really living your life and actually interacting with your friends.
I’ve included a couple of links to recent studies on this subject that you may find interesting. The first is how walking and texting affects your gait and posture. The study was small, but interesting and it makes sense. The Center for New Media and Society published a synopsis of the latest findings in social media research. Some is good news and some bad. It’s worth a read.
If you explore further online, you will discover that psychologists are very interested in how texting and social media affects we humans. However, while researchers are studying the affects of our texting habits and how healthy or unhealthy we are as Facebook junkies, one thing is apparent. We can have a lot more fun in life if we unplug and really live.
Now go have more fun and relax.