Introduction – Turning on your phone
This blog post is a unique one to write, as it is directly related to the debate that I just participated in. While myself and my team argued for the benefits of Unplugging, Tayler, Nicole, and Angela presented a fantastic argument on the pointlessness of unplugging. Now that I am free of the shackles of the debate, I plan to sort through the facts and present a unified, coherent (hopefully) argument on the value of unplugging technology in today’s society.
Given that I argued “for” unplugging in the debate, the majority of my research centered around that fact. Margie Warrell states that “recent studies have found that despite being more connected than ever, more people feel more alone than ever.” Furthermore, she discusses sites such as Facebook and how “social media allows us to control what we share. It appeals to our vulnerability and vanity.” We used both of these points effectively in our debate and pushed a theme that a constant internet connection leads to decreased personal interactions and a falsified social media presence. However, the more time that I spend thinking about this topic and even as I write these words on to the page, I am beginning to feel differently about the effectiveness of unplugging from technology.
Technology allows us to be connected more than ever before. And that connection leads to a feeling of comfort and even safety.
Body – Checking your phone calls
When I’m at work, if I need to go talk to a colleague in the staff room, I always bring my phone with me. The purpose? Not to check any new tweets or Facebook posts, but rather to feel secure in the knowledge that if anyone needs to get a hold of me, they will be able to do so. Having young children has led to me feeling this way. I start to feel physically ill at the thought of my son getting hurt or sick at daycare and if his caregivers could not reach me. Having my iPhone in my pocket does not mean that I am on it, 24/7 but rather it is there as a safety measure should I be needed.
While I have admitted to carrying my phone with me everywhere as a measure of safety and comfort, I also acknowledge the fact that there are certain distractions that come from always being connected. Ilya Pozin states that there is no such thing as multitasking, rather we are just switching back and forth between tasks very quickly. This is true even as I write this post. While I attempt to form a coherent argument, I’m also talking with my cousin over Facebook messenger, making golf plans with my dad and texting my wife about plans after work. Would I be done writing this article more quickly without the distractions? Possibly, but I believe it allows my a brief and welcome distraction and also helps me coordinate my thoughts before continuing to write.
Conclusion – Closing your Social Media App?
The final point to discuss is the anxiety that can rise from being connected too often to Social Media. Sophia Breene states that “checking in on friends’ frequent vacations… can create a constant state of Fear of Missing Out.” This fear is certainly valid and needs to be discussed further.
Too often, people live their lives in comparison to others. Are they prettier than me? Are their clothes nicer? Do they have more money? Are they happier? Social Media can enhance those doubts by making the lives of everyone else constantly accessible.
These comparisons between peers are nothing new and did not start with the advent of Social Media. However, they are certainly something to be mindful of. If you find yourself feeling too upset, or wanting, after using Social Media, then it may be a good time to re-evaluate the people you follow. Social Media’s design is to simplify and add enjoyment to our lives, not to make us feel bad because others have more than we do.
Social Media has evolved and grown into a vital part of our lives. It has created a level of comfort and security that we are unlikely to be able to live without. Even Pope Benedict XVI states “The exchange of information can become true communication, links ripen into friends, and connections facilitate communication.” Therefore, we should accept Social Media and rather than unplugging, we should use to benefit our lives not to draw comparisons to things we do not have.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your day!