Put your phone down! You! Yes, you reading this article! Actually, don’t do that, please keep reading. Unless you are with somebody else, then absolutely get off the phone and connect with that person

This isn’t a message targeted at Millennials only; often they are the ones highly antagonized for this. More and more often today people are caught up living vicariously through the lives of others on Facebook, Instagram, or whatever god-dang social media outlet you use.

With that said, I’m here to inform that if you think scolding somebody for being on their phone at a social gathering is going to fix the issue, you’re wrong.

That being said, I’m not scolding you. Social media is a great tool. I have plenty of old army buddies and friends that are hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Harboring those relationships isn’t easy without a tool like social media.

If you suggest using an address book or Rolodex as an alternative, then you have bigger problems, and more puzzling still is how you managed to operate a computer and navigate to my website. Social media has made many old forms of communication obsolete, and if we are honest with ourselves, it’s quite okay.

So when is it not okay and when should we be concerned that we might be borderline obsessed with social media?

If this is you – It’s your mom’s or best friends birthday, and you wish them happy birthday on Facebook.

Consider doing this instead – Consider that this person is not only a loved one but important in your life. Give them a call, 5 minutes or so should do the trick. You don’t need to hyperventilate from the anxiety, don’t worry it will be okay. Reserve, wishing happy birthday on Facebook for the people whose phone numbers you don’t have. This is to get you to stop feeling compelled to live through the social media spectrum. Consider seeing that person, speaking with them, even if it’s a few days from when you’ll see them again. Congratulating them in person is a good way to have a conversation about things in both your lives (This touches on the next point).

If this is you – When hanging out with a friend or family member your conversations revolve around social media. Meaning you pass around your phones showing each other content.

Consider doing this instead – Stop it! Just stop. Unless said person is attached to your hip, conversations should not be driven by your phones. The superficial interest that you find on social media is just that, exaggerated and superficial, instead find a genuine interest in the person sitting across from you (or beside you). And don’t get me started with couples if you are with a partner and you whip out your phone on a date, shame on you! If you’re sitting on the couch at home scratching your junk (Girls too), I suppose it’s okay if you pull out your phone.

Based on the last point, if you wait until the weekend to ask somebody about their new job instead of doing it through text, Facebook, or whatever, you’ll have a topic on which you two can have a conversation about.

If this is you – When commuting whether walking somewhere or driving somewhere, you are knee deep in your phone.

Consider doing this instead – Seriously? I shouldn’t have to tell you to get off your phone, especially if you are driving. Nothing that is happening on social media is so important or vital to the safety and security of the global community that you need to be on your phone. Don’t worry when you arrive at your destination 5 minutes early for paying attention to the road, you’ll get a chance to catch up on the Kardashians or whatever it is you’re interested in. Instead, use your time on the road to think about things in your own life. If you are walking around nose deep in your phone, then you definitely have a problem. Put your phone away and observe the world around you. Say Hi to the beautiful guy or girl walking beside you. Again, puff on your inhaler, it’s okay. You’re only saying Hi or good morning/afternoon.

 

Social media raises complex issues, but they aren’t mystifying. Ask yourself:

“Are these people really that interesting?”
“Can your Facebook, Instagram, text message wait until you’re done driving?”

Put your phone on silent and place it face down, so you don’t see the screen light up (and don’t worry your phone is not like you’re pet dog who will grow sad if you don’t give it attention).

Social media bring us in closer but to some extent creates an estrangement from the real people in your world. Nobody is asking you to quit, simple to create a tangible connection to the world around you.

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Freelance Writer | Blogger | Poet | US Army Veteran | Photographer | Novelist | Traveler

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