Meghan Peter’s blog article, “Why the Future of Social Is in the Palm of Your Hand” provides insight into the positive and endless possibilities of social media’s use through handheld devices. Although the piece felt like a promotional advertisement for Sonar, Stamped, Soundtracking and Apple, her mention of these companies was more than likely to add credibility to her article.
Though smartphones provide the technology to engage in real-time updates, they’ve also prompted a detachment of personal, face-to-face relationships—at least in the Western culture. While Peters explains the benefits of checking in, posting real-time photos, and communicating with friends and family in different parts of the world, she fails to point out that many are substituting social media for physical relationships.
I have a strong understanding of social media. I was born at the perfect time to figure this thing out. I watched PC’s come into our homes, I participated in the beginnings of the internet, I watched social media being born, and I saw shoe-box sized cell phones morph into devices that are smaller than a deck of cards. The issue with handheld computers is that people have sacrificed actual human engagement for lists of friends that we wouldn’t recognize or say hello to on the street. EVERYONE has been in a situation where they’ve seen a Facebook acquaintance in public and pretended not to see them. I’ve done it and I’ve seen others do it.
Walk through a hallway in a local college and you’ll see the disconnect when students leave their classrooms. The majority of the students have their faces buried in their phones while bumping into others doing the same thing.
Cell phone technology is an amazing thing. It DOES allow people to connect in unique ways that can actually enhance relationships. But until users learn how to balance social media and up close and personal relationships, many of us will be walking around bumping into each other.