"Okay guys, surrender your phones!!!! Surrender it to the table"
Surrender....my phone? To the table?
It sounds absurd, I know.
It started as an attempt to get everyone to stop being distracted by their mobile devices and to be present, and in the moment. How it works is that the phones will be stacked in the middle of the table, and no one is allowed to reach for it. We found that this was really quite effective, and dinners since then have been very engaging - the conversation starts to flow, people contribute so much more... And it got me thinking about the attachment we have to our phones, social media and the circus that we've made it today.
How often is it that we
1. Mindlessly scroll through Twitter / Facebook / Instagram at family meals
2. Get upset when someone who was recently seen on Whatsapp failed to reply your text?
3. Use Facebook to stalk the hot guy you met at the bar last night and begin collating a dossier worth of his educational background, family background, affiliated links and notes on ex-girlfriends within an hour
(Might / might not be guilty.)
(Ok I'm guilty.)
4. Order your friends not to touch their food until you have whipped out your iPhone and snapped ten thousand pictures of it for Instagram
(I have friends who get out of their seat and proceed to boldly stand on their chair to get an aerial shot of meals.............................)
5. Scramble to Instagram-vid a cool party / gig / concert / event you're at, because everyone knows that it ain't real, unless you social-media it. Duh.
Why are we so obsessed with being connected, documenting every part of our lives and getting validation from the number of likes we get on our Facebook status?
I think an interesting point to note is that with every hour we spend on Facebook, every picture we upload on Instagram and every tweet we send out, we are unwittingly becoming content creators for these companies...without being paid for it. This data is being sold to advertisers, who use it as a means to understand demographics. Surveillance companies today can track the location and habits of ordinary citizens through their smart phones, and I guess the question to think about is whether we're allowing our digital footprint to become someone else's business, quite literally.
But in the words of Miley herself, "we can't stop.......we won't stop".
What do you guys think?