There Is Such A Thing As Too Connected

I noticed something while I was at BlogHer last weekend. Bloggers are addicted to their technology. I realize this is not a revelation. Hell, I’m addicted to technology, too, even though I don’t have a smart phone. I do have an iTouch and a laptop and a fairly decent camera. I’m on Twitter and Facebook and Flickr and Linked In.

But what I’m not is connected to the internet when I’m hanging out with people, be it 5 friends around a backyard bonfire or at a conference with 2399 other people. I want to talk to people. I like the interaction, even though it’s sometimes really difficult. I don’t like feeling that I’m playing second fiddle to a Blackberry or iPhone. It reminds me of high school friends who would only firm up plans with me when they were sure their boyfriends or cooler friends (which usually meant friends with cars) weren’t busy.  It drove me crazy then and it drives me crazy now.

This phenomenon isn’t exclusive to BlogHer. I have friends who are compulsive about checking their emails and texts and Twitter feed and Facebook page when they’re out and about with me. If they get a text, they answer it, even if they’re in the middle of a conversation with me. If someone pings their phone, they have to check it, no matter what they’re doing. Out to dinner, at a party, even at the movies; it doesn’t matter. The little electronic beep takes precedence over real, live people.

While I was walking around New York City last weekend, I noticed several bloggers riding in one of those pedi cabs. Each of them was face down into their mobile devices, not paying any attention to this vibrant city surrounding them, more concerned with what was going on online than what was going on in front of their faces. It reminded me of the movie Wall-E. People on their hover-chairs, screens in front of their faces, never seeing the people beside them.

I’m all for social media. I gobble it up with the best of them. But sometimes you just need to put the fucking phone away and live in the moment. Don’t tweet about it, don’t post it to Facebook, just look up. Breathe it in. Wallow around in it. Disconnect for a bit and see what’s going on around you.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 14:12:35

    Brilliant! Brava!!

    Reply

  2. Jenny
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 14:17:24

    I agree with this. In fact, I see many ppl being victims of crime by not paying attention to where they are, who and what is around them.

    When I am having friends over, I turn the damn TV off. It is common courtesy.

    Same should be with iPhones, iPaddery et al.

    Be with Eartheaons on Earth.

    Reply

  3. debra
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 14:31:07

    Perfectly said. I feel exactly the same and have a growing concern over how we are evolving as a society. Leave it to humans to figure out how to become so completely connected that we will soon be completely isolated.

    Reply

  4. Yo-yo Mama
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 14:31:21

    During an extended weekend vacation out of town, my husband thought we should bring the computer…download pictures, he said…whatever. When we packed up our things to leave the hotel, it was the one thing that never made it out of the bag and it was never missed (and I’m just as guilty as he is). People want to stay “plugged in” but what are they really plugging into??

    Reply

  5. Tawnya
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 14:38:03

    I totally agree!!! It is everywhere!! I currently do not have a cell phone and I am loving it!! When I travel, I take my lap top so I can do my school work and not fall behind. If I have time I might chat with someone on YIM, but it is not imperative that I do so. Bravo for someone saying what we are all thinking!

    Reply

  6. talesofmy30s
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 15:16:40

    I hate hate HATE that I am too connected sometimes. Never so noticeable as at BlogHer, of course. This week, I’ve craved being away from it all. Less time at work on the ‘net, even though I’m deathly bored there. Less time spent on the ‘net because it’s THERE at home. Writing for the sake of writing for long periods of time, instead of checking my Twitter feed, even as it crawls to 100 unread tweets.

    And most of all, I want a disconnected vacation. One where I don’t take my laptop, only my BlackBerry for e-mail/text/phone, no checking of the Twitter or Facebook. Hopefully I will get that in a few weeks.

    Reply

  7. LauraJ
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 15:23:27

    Awesome post! I refuse to text message people, I want to speak to a real live person that’s it that’s all!

    Reply

  8. Suebob
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 00:59:10

    I don’t take a laptop to BlogHer. If my phone rings while I am at dinner, I don’t answer it. I am old-fashioned, I guess, but it is seriously irritating to be sitting across from someone who claimed to want to spend time with me, only to have them spend the time chatting with someone on the phone.

    Reply

    • Major Bedhead
      Aug 15, 2010 @ 23:17:11

      I will answer a call if it’s from home when I’m out, but I usually answer it with “Someone had better be bleeding.” Everything else goes to voice mail.

      Reply

  9. Sharon
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 10:01:11

    Went to a family reunion in Canada a couple of weeks ago. I thought about bringing a laptop, but then chucked it all and brought only Blackberry (just for GPS- I couldn’t use internet) and camera. I felt free!

    Reply

  10. Meredith
    Aug 16, 2010 @ 16:39:21

    I share this pet peeve with you – I cannot stand how so many people I see, strangers and friends alike, are so tuned into their tech toys. I hate hearing all the one sided phone conversations when I am anywhere, from the play ground to the grocery store. Seriously, I take every opportunity not to talk on the phone.

    I have worked for many companies wherein everyone brings their laptops to meetings. You know what? You don’t really pay attention to the meeting when you are constantly instant messaging or checking websites. It was a whole meeting of unproductivity – for everyone all the time.

    Reply

  11. Txtingmrdarcy
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 12:04:55

    Amazing redesign. :)

    Also, Bravo! You’re exactly right- even though you were at a blogging conference, it was about face-to-face networking. Take a break and unplug.

    Reply

  12. Kelly @ Student of the Year
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 12:26:41

    Site looks great. And yes, put down the phone/mobile device/whatever, and talk, drink in your surroundings!

    Reply

  13. Sarahtoo
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 23:18:24

    Dood, I just came up for air and came to see what’s up, and not only are you talking about one of my pet peeves, but you redid your site! The place looks gorgeous! I’m so glad you had fun at BlogHer–seems like you came back rejuvenated. Wonderful.

    And you’re right–I don’t begrudge anyone their Twitter time, but come on. Stay connected to the real world, people!

    Reply

  14. Earnest Weaver
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 14:34:49

    “Perhaps it’s a whose-dick-is-bigger contest. If I go to the piano and write a quick song and play it back, they are angry with how fast and effortless it is. That’s who I am, and I don’t apologize for it. But it’s a hideous place to be in when someone that you love has convinced you that you will never be good enough for anyone. I had a man say to me, ‘You will die alone in a house bigger than you know, with all your money and hit records, and you will die alone.’ ” I suggest that perhaps she’s picked the wrong men. “That’s what my mother says,” she admits. “And even though I know it sounds a bit Hallmark, whenever I [was] in that kind of stressful, worthless moment, I would think, I’ll show you. But it’s more than just saying, ‘Oh, they can’t handle a strong woman.’ ‘Oh, I’m intimidating.’ ‘Oh, it’s the money.’ I think what it really is, is that I date creative people. And I think that what intimidates them is not my purse; it’s my mind.” I suggest that she’s just going to have to find somebody more talented than she is. “Yes, please,” she says.

    Reply

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