In a world where more and more of our social interactions happen digitally, our face-to-face interactions are becoming increasingly limited, where emails have replaced phone calls and people forget that spending quality time with others involves talking, not texting. In one week, ‘I Forgot My Phone’ has gone viral – and as of 11:30 a.m. today, it’s received 14.5+ million hits (the view count is growing exponentially each day, so you should probably re-check those numbers). It’s prominently featured on Facebook and Twitter, BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog and YouTube, to name a few. How many of you will watch this clip on your phone? It’s all pretty meta, if you think about it.
I am not above admitting I’ve had a few close encounters with parking meters and street lamps because I’ve been texting or looking at someone’s newly posted vacation album – but is our FOMO (fear of missing out) on what’s hot in that moment replacing face-to-face interactions?
As an example, Instagram has become one of the most popular social sharing platforms, with 130 million active monthly users and 16 billion shared photos in just under three years (the company launched in October, 2010). 45 million photos are being published every day, garnering over one billion likes. Everything, from the swirls in your morning coffee to your toes in the sand are being seen as Instagramable moments – but are they actually detracting from the moments themselves? Enjoying a live concert vs. recording the whole thing so you can show your friends later, while watching it through your tiny screen; Staring at your phone alone, posting about how much fun you’re having with your friends who are talking around you; Taking photos of your dinner while it gets cold and your family converses without you. These are the trends slowly replacing ACTUAL interaction and it begs the question – if it’s not documented, did it really happen?
Oh course, technology has afforded us a number of once impossible luxuries, like FaceTiming a family member on the other side of the world, but it has become increasingly clear we need to find the right balance in our relationships and recognize that there is a time for digital vs. face to face. Albert Einstein said it best: “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
*The video featured was written by and stars Charlene deGuzman (charstarleneTV on YouTube)