Controlled – Altered – Distracted
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“Distracted from distraction by distraction” – A line taken from a T S Eliot poem resonating the changing air of our generation today. Read it as it’s written and make sense of it how you wish. The truth is human relationships used to be easy; we had friends, boy/girlfriends, parents, siblings, children, and colleagues. Now, thanks to social media, it’s all gone sideways. The more we have, the more we ‘think’ we’re connecting. It’s questionable whether we really are – Or are we in fact ‘disconnecting’ from one another?
The words ‘social’ and ‘media’ have evolved over the years creating a medium together that has opened countless avenues around the globe. Business Insider reported in July 2014 that social networking giant Facebook has over 2.2 billion monthly active users – that’s roughly one third of the world’s population!
Smart phones, technology and social media combined have evidently expanded our universe. Everywhere you look you will find heads positioned slightly downwards, a phone in one hand, scrolling, tapping, typing completely engrossed and unconscious of our surroundings. Distracted.
Flourishing social media is no longer just a spoke on the wheel of marketing – It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built. Brand awareness has grown, along with it loyalty. We know more about our audiences than ever. Feedback is instant, our web habits are closely monitored, technology does the math for us and presents back what it feels would be our most relevant ‘fit’. Controlled.
Positively, we have the ease of staying in touch no matter where in the world we are. Whatsapp, FaceTime, Messenger and more. It’s truly fascinating. You could say that social media allows us to choose when we fancy being socialable or not. Choices. We have so many yet we are still such bad communicators.
In 1999 Jill Dando, an English journalist, TV presenter and Newsreader was fatally shot outside her home in Fulham. A victim of ‘stalking’ the irony being that BBC’s ‘Crimewatch’ was one of her finest pieces of work. Without technology, or any of these extended invasive options it was the simple ‘hide, follow and attack’ approach that resulted in her unfortunate death. Fast-forward to present day and we’re openly inviting an array of people into our lives, ‘hash tagging’ ourselves into more ‘likes’, more ‘followers’ and more so called ‘friends’. Who knows who’s actually viewing your shameless ‘bathroom selfie’. The MTV show ‘Catfish’ illustrates prime examples of being preyed on by complete strangers. It’s happening everywhere. Who is really watching your every move, check-in, location tag and posts on a daily basis?
So, why are people so obsessed with seeking validation from others on social media? Unless you’re a restaurant critic nobody cares what you had for dinner last night. We’re inflating our already inflamed view of one self. Self-glorification. Agreed, it opens doors to what were previously ‘insider only clubs’ providing front-row seating in places most only dream off. Is this aspirational or just another form of distracting the masses into optimistic unrealistic teasers that lead you to detest your ‘real’ life even more. Altered
How different would people act if they couldn’t show off on social media? Would they still do it?
In this age, you must be relentlessly remarkable to stay relevant, if not you’ll be relegated.
Ask yourself when you last watched the news instead of relying on your ‘Timeline’ to update you. When did you last go to dinner and not check your phone every 10 minutes, last witness something incredible without pulling your phone into view to watch it through technology instead.
In Aristotle’s words “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual.”
You are as aware or as distracted as you choose to be. Alter if you need to but importantly stay in control.