By now you’ve probably seen the very popular video by rapper Prince EA “Anti-Social Network”.
I actually only recently viewed it, but since I’m usually behind the times on these sorts of things I just assumed I was the last one left to view it. Basically the message is simple. We’re focused on ourselves the majority of the time and technology is separating us more than it’s connecting us. Of course there are a ton of grandma Skype videos to use as evidence against that. We’ve also all seen our fair share of the heart felt hellos from soldiers abroad, or people too ill to visit someone being able to share precious moments with their families, but in each of these cases there is a reason to include technology. A moment where someone had to pick up a phone, log into a service, or broadcast globally to be heard by those they care about.
There is a big difference between “this is the only way I can connect” to “this is how I choose to connect” and it has taken the birth of my son to really illustrate that for me. I feel like this video has some flaws. It’s fair to say that it doesn’t entirely paint both sides of the argument equally. It’s also fair to see that it makes some valid if not good points of why sometimes, just sometimes, it’s OK to put the phone/tablet/laptop down.
Talk is cheap, what am I doing about it?
Well, for one, I’ve shut data services down on my phone (software wise) unless I absolutely need to look something up or track something via GPS. I’ve been using only WiFi, and if WiFi isn’t available (way more common than I’d care to admit in Halifax, Nova Scotia) I just don’t use my phone. Exceptions to this are texting, which I rarely use anyway, or the actual phone portion of the device. This has actually saved some money for me as well buy lowering my data plan. Another area of technology that’s a bit dated in my neck of the woods.
I think I’ll take this one step further and limit my actual social media check-ins to twice daily per service even when WiFi is available. Once again, exceptions to this are social media related to the site (as mentioned in the caveats section above, this is pretty much the only way we can communicate!) or queued posting that I have set up for the blog itself. I’ve been doing part A) for a little over a month now and I’ve noticed huge improvements in attention spans, quality of conversations, and just overall enjoyment with my family. I dare you to give it a try!
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