Are we missing on Life because of Social Media?

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I am not sure if this has come up before, but I am expecting. So, this morning, as I was waiting for my doctor appointment at the General Hospital, I could not help but notice all the other moms-to-be in the waiting room, some of them alone, others with the dads-to-be besides them. So, imagine a mid-size waiting room at the hospital; walls are all white, there is a water fountain and cups and two big desks on each side, from where you can hear the receptionists talking on the phone, scheduling ultrasounds appointments or welcoming new moms who are just arriving for their appointments. Pretty regular and normal scene, you would think! Until, I realized, that inside the waiting room, no one but me and my mom was talking to each other; they were not even making eye contact, even those who came together; Instead of talking or looking at each other, everyone was staring at their smart phone (one lady was on her lap top), scrolling down, what seem to be Facebook feed, or I bet, another social media channel, or reading an article, most likely from a social media feed. I could not help but wonder, are we missing on life and if so, how much? What compels us to choose our smart devices vs. a living and breathing human being next to us, in order to fulfill a need for closeness, human interaction, or at a minimum, stay entertained while waiting?

I tried and visualized that same scene some 15 years ago or so, when Facebook did not existed (from article: When did Facebook start?) and believe me, that same scene seemed a bit more happy, relaxed and I should say, normal, to me, than what I was witnessing today at the hospital: women were chatting among each other, sharing experiences of their pregnancies, what they’ve gone through with their first ones, or at a minimum, couples were conversing between each other, making small talk, while patiently waiting for their appointment with the doctor. When you think about it, that would be pretty normal: at least, they all have one thing in common, right, they are all pregnant… so chances are, there is a lot to be said and shared, even if one was shy or uncomfortable to speak to strangers!

I myself, the book nerd that I am, brought a book for the ‘occasion’ as every single time I go for my monthly check up, it is a minimum of 2 hours wait; this time was not an exception: I had a book in my purse (you guessed it, on yoga and mindfulness, of course) and even a magazine – Yoga Journal, just in case! But, in the last minute, my mom offered to come with me, so while waiting, I felt guilty for leaving her to stare up the sealing, while reading, so I opted to chat about anything and everything with her, to pass the time! It was the best thing ever and I don’t exaggerate. I asked her about her experiences when she was pregnant with me; if she was scared of delivery date, as much as I am, what was like to be pregnant 36 years ago, etc. It was a very pleasant, mother-daughter conversation, which made me feel so much closer to hear and a bit calmer and content; In retrospection now, I feel we would have not had that chat, if we were both on our smart phones, wouldn’t we?!

As we were conversing, we both noticed how everyone else in the room was on their phone and how sad it looked; I wondered how many friendships could have been started between expectant moms in that same waiting room, that same day, if it was not for social media and smart phones; how much more richer and meaningful that experience would have been for them, if they just lifted their heads, made eye contact and smile softly to the other very pregnant lady besides them?!

In that moment, as I was considering all this, I felt a profound sense of petty and sadness; social media was invented to connect people, not alienate them from one another; it was and still is, I tend to believe, about sharing human experiences, not robotizing day-to-day life; it is a tool to share, to experience, to connect, to present, to live richer life, in relation with people who are far away from us…. but, in so doing, I would think, it was never intended to ignore completely the people who are right next to us! And, the really sad part of all this is that we’ve grown completely ignorant or accustomed to all this; we consider it now all normal to be next to each other, fully concentrated on our phones, instead of each other!

What do you think, am I a complete lunatic to believe we can remain social and present in the here and now, while still indulge in all that social media has to offer to us, without one jeopardizing the rich experience of the other?

As I continued to wait for my appointment, I began to envision on how I will raise that little boy in my belly; how am I going to teach him, show him, prove to him that this behavior is NOT normal, is not customary, in fact it’s rude and ignorant! How to show him and teach him to cherish the moments spend with others around him, because this is what makes life richer, meaningful, and special!

 In your opinion, can we remain social and present in the here and now, while still indulging in social media? http://bit.ly/2yDxI68

Are we missing on Life because of Social Media? http://bit.ly/2yDxI68

5 thoughts on “Are we missing on Life because of Social Media?

  1. Bravo Kira and I DO NOT think you are crazy in the least. I am happy for your little belly boy too because he will learn that there are appropriate times to be on his phone, and inappropriate times to be on his phone.

    What a lovely picture of you and your Mum sharing with one another in the waiting room. I’m quite sure she appreciated the interest you had in your own birth process and her pregnancy. Quite a different thing to share that information via text or online right? We are human, not robot and our brains have not only a logical component, but an emotional one. Anywhere that I’ve worked in my career, the best people are the emotionally intelligent people! They can do their job, and make one’s work day happier with chat about the weather, the news, the latest in family escapades etc. What a sad life it would be without that interaction.

    Social Media is image control largely. I think we talked before about “Fear of Missing Out.” And isn’t it ironic that the more time we spend on social media, the more we ARE missing out?

    I fear for Gen Z’ers because of this. The less we use of one part of our brain, the more likely we are to lose it. If we as people are evolving into a non-interactive society, then I’ll be glad to have experienced humanity beforehand. There is a great movie called “Robot and Frank” which is about a robot caregiver to a dementia patient. The robot prototype does infact exist and is built by Honda.

    I declare to you here to get signed up for more yoga before the end of this summer, and focus on living “in the present.” It’s been great to get to know you. I wish you all the best with your pregnancy, parenthood and journey!

    Phyllis

  2. Hey Mariya,

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! What a wonderful blessing.

    I find social media such a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can connect us to so many things. On the other, it disconnects us from the people we are with at that moment. I try to evade it, but I find myself falling prey to the need to be constantly showcasing my life and moments on social media, instead of just enjoying the moment. It is always refreshing to challenge yourself to a couple of hours of social media free time a day.

  3. Hi, No you are not wrong in seeing and speaking about what you have observed. Just last week while taking a short bus ride downtown I had a wonderful chat with an elderly woman and thought to myself, it’s been a long time since I’ve done this, it was especially nice, It’s great to hear that you are aware and sensitive if this and have already made a commitment to you and baby to make a difference, way to go. A question, do you think people are more intelligent these days with the amount of information that is available at our fingertips? It can’t ALL be so bad, there must be some positives in this new social media usage, all in moderation is my motto. All the best for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

  4. Hi Mariya,

    The title of your blog post instantly drew me in and I found myself asking myself the question over and over again. I strongly believe that life can pass us by quickly if we are so emerged and engaged in our phone and what is going on in the social media world. However, if we limit our time and focus on being present with our loved ones, we can have the best of both worlds in my opinion.

    Great blog post!

    -Kira

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