Column: Take vacations from the virtual
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 15:09
There should be no doubt in your mind that technology is now integrated in most aspects of our daily routines. Mobile devices are powerful enough to keep you connected to millions and, in some cases, even surpass the computational power of the Mars rover, the exploratory vehicle currently surveying a planet more than 100 million miles from Earth.
This power provides a connectivity that has given a voice to people silenced by oppressive regimes who would murder those brave enough to fight against them — such as those in Egypt who used social media to coordinate their revolt against their oppressive government. So, put in perspective, your Foursquare check-in doesn’t merit much importance.
We’ve become obsessed with our smart devices and the services accessible through them. You would think it would be useful or fun to check-in to that restaurant all your friends have been salivating over, but apart from the business owner receiving free press, you’re depriving yourself of real experiences. Lower your cyber wall and actually enjoy your company, the movie or just take in the scenery. Your current level of “Temple Run” should not merit more importance than the people surrounding you.
When did we lose our appreciation for downtime? Instead of sitting down and enjoying what’s in front of you, the news of the world and your online friend group seem to justify most of your attention.
I don’t want to mitigate the revolution these devices have carried out or deny that my iPhone is anything but amazing. It is easier than ever to connect with loved ones, have face-to-face conversations when separated by oceans and document our lives thoroughly. Still, the fact that we can do all these amazing things with our devices shouldn’t allow us to forego a sense of etiquette to catch up on tweets or to see who Stacy checked in with at the bar.
It’s wonderful that knowing where your acquaintances are is effortless, but I firmly believe that the only people who should know your exact location are the people who surround you. Instead of tweeting to your hundred or so followers, try having a conversation that involves vocal chords. Stop contributing to your online profile; marketers love you enough to chase after you if you let them.
Try going analog. You’ll have more fun playing a game of Scrabble with your friends than “Words with ‘Friends’” on your phone. Instead of being the person with the lit-up face, be the person who can sign off and breathe for two seconds. Besides, you can immerse yourself in work when the time is right, but you’ll never get back those minutes of relaxation you gave away to Facebook.
Now if you excuse me, I’m going to read about the day’s news, Instagram more pictures of my cat and become the mayor at CC’s.
Sent from my iPhone
Emmanuel Herrero is a mass communication senior and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
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