What do you think? Is digital media actually responsible for the disconnect people are experiencing in their real life? Even I don’t know the answer. However, this is an important issue since online social networks are increasingly becoming as real as our real life and the distinction between the two is getting very blurry.
Social media and mobiles were sure created with an initial purpose that should have connected people. But if we see the current situation, what was supposed to connect people and make them “social,” is now disconnecting them from real people and connecting them to real virtual people. I believe there is nothing wrong with connecting to real virtual people, provided it’s NOT at the cost of the “real” real people that surround us.
Real Life Effects of Digital Connections
People have always been busy with their own life and that makes perfect sense, but the difference is that there used to be a specific time and a place to connect before, unlike recently when we can connect all the time and everywhere!
This is disturbing primarily because the imbalance has affected us to an extent that we often remove ourselves from where we are and be where we want to be. With technology at our fingertips, we are settling for mere connections over real communication, escaping to virtuality every now and then, without realizing that we are missing out on real life stuff – Friends and Family, Relationships and Happiness.
We don’t pay enough attention to those who are physically present close to us because we are busy with our Facebook or Instagram feeds and checking out likes.
Another drawback is the loss of our ability to be alone – with our thoughts, with our own selves. As soon as we are left alone, we tend to reach out to our pocket and hang to our smartphones, feeling we’re not alone anymore. Being alone is practically necessary at times, it can help us focus and think about what’s important to us.
I’m not saying that we just have to be alone, but not being able to manage when we’re alone has consequences, the main one being loneliness. Although some would argue that online interactions are actually done with other real people, but can that really beat face to face interaction – those with real feelings and not emojis?
What We Require Is A ‘Digital Detox!’
In case you haven’t heard, tech-free retreats are increasingly becoming popular today (for the rich). Promising you to help escape the online chatter, these camps also lets you gain a new perspective on technology and your social life. In case the idea of tech-free camps doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are better ways to get a digital detox. It’s basically not about being connected or disconnected; it is about when and how you connect.
You can choose to be in one of the two sects of people – One, those who complement their real social life with their digital life, and two, those who pretty much replace their real social life with an online one.
Yes, you’ve probably guessed it right that the former is better than the latter. But if you couldn’t, you really need to check where your life’s going! It is easy to fall in for such traps when it’s so much more convenient to send a few effortless Hi’s and Hello’s online to keep in touch.
Extending your real life relationships with friends and family online, while also keeping up with people in different parts of the world is the best practice. For a balanced, peaceful life, simply follow the rule of “Disconnect and reconnect” and believe me, you’ll be able to value both real and digital life much more.
So I’d say, you should try a digital detox test frequently (once a month, maybe) and be honest with yourself – keep the weekend for reading your favorite book or take a small trip to the mountains, call your friends over for a game session or simply spend a portion of your time cooking with your family.
There is no doubt that we can get a lot out of the digital space and especially social media, but the key to balance is to understand the downsides and prioritize your time accordingly.