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.