I was in a restaurant with my dad and two of my older brothers. We were laughing and having fun, when suddenly a gentleman pulled a chair up to our table and sat with us. He inquired if we were a family, as he was struck by the amount of fun we were having telling stories and laughing. He then pointed toward his nearby family. Everyone was on their smart phones- playing games , texting or checking Facebook. His wife and three kids had not even noticed he was gone.
He looked at my elderly father and wondered out-loud if he would have engaged conversations with his children when they were grown…. Or if they would only communicate electronically? He wanted to be part of a party where people spoke to each other at dinner.
Social media and digital communication have taken over society, and the tools we now use bring along many advantages to create and cultivate in-person and virtual relationships. But it is also causing disconnections in human to human interactions.
The family of the man in the restaurant was not an anomaly. People in the same room regularly to choose to communicate with others who are miles removed. Those sitting with us seem not as interesting as those far away.
Attend any business conference and you will see the “Phone Zombies” roaming the halls, actively checking-in online, while being checked-out in person. Nobody talks to strangers, or even those they already know, as they are all busy reading screens.
Does our social media obsession undermine the ability of people to make meaningful connections? It can when we forget that on the other side of that “link” or “Friend Request” is a real person. If connecting is about the numbers instead of the development of mutual understanding, then it is all a cold façade.
We have to remember to “Choose People” in our social media crazy world. This means keeping the phones in our pocket or purse when we are with others and advancing the use of spoken conversation.
All opportunities come from people. When we choose not to be engaged we are leaving behind opportunity.
Have A Great Day