In our attempt to remain connected at all times, we spoil opportunities to connect in real life.
I have this romantic notion that the deepest friendships come about only through face-to-face interactions. Regrettably, I feel we are losing our ability to appreciate and understand the complexities of each other unless it’s though a blog post, e-mail, or text message.
Technology enables us to be ‘on’ all the time– which practically means we’re never off. Modern communication is instantaneous, interruptive, and incessant; and, we cope with it by multitasking. And with technology always on, we’re losing the ability to turn multitasking off.
This is especially disconcerting in social situations: we automatically anticipate distractions in moments when there’s nothing to distract us, and that awareness distracts us from each other. Sometimes we’ll artificially create a distraction to fill a void. We can’t help but multitask; and when we do, we lose detail, complexity, and depth. (Yes, even you.)
The funny thing is that technology enables us to maintain close relationships with a greater number of people. But, in doing so, we implicitly devalue face-time and forgo possibly deeper relationships. Something feels off when I feel closer to friends through e-mail and blogs than through time spent together.
I hope this isn’t the case with me. In fact, that’s the point of this post: if you ever feel I’m not giving you my full attention or I am using technology as a blanket, call me out on it. Unmediated communication is too important and I’d like to stop being a victim of my distractibility.