Youtuber Charlene deGuzman recently uploaded a video depicting her friends and acquaintances in various social scenarios, and it made me remember a George Carlin piece where he rants on the proliferation of picture and video-taking in our society. The video, directed by Miles Crawford, stars the 29 year old Filipino-American comedian and actress who came up with the idea after witnessing a deluge of mobile phones at a performance by her favorite DJ.
“The people in front of me had their phones up in the air the entire time — filming, taking pictures, posting them to Facebook and Instagram, tweeting about how cool this concert was,” she wrote in her Tumblr. “It makes me sad.” “Why? Because there is a moment happening right in front of you, right this second, and you’re missing it,” she added.
A recent report by a mobile solutions company states that we spend an average of two hours and 40 minutes each day looking at our mobile devices. And that doesn’t mean making calls, but using apps, browsing the Web, and updating our social media networks. We’ve all been there sometime or the other, checking our Facebook at a restaurant, replying to an email in the midst of a birthday party, or just checking what our friends and followers are doing at this very moment instead of living in the moment.
This is what makes this short 2-minute video so poignant. Instead of living in the moment, we are so obsessed with capturing it for posterity that we invariably miss out on what’s happening right in front of our eyes. Our obsession with our smart devices and the need to stay connected is more urgent than ever. The irony here is that studies have proved that the more we check our social feed, the more depressed we are likely to be. Facebook is depressing, and more so is Instagram. According to the research, “They found that the most common emotion aroused by using Facebook is envy. Endlessly comparing themselves with peers who have doctored their photographs, amplified their achievements and plagiarised their bons mots can leave Facebook’s users more than a little green-eyed.”
There’s a quote by Albert Einstein that’s now commonly associated with this proliferation; “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
I’m no Luddite and am as married to my iDevices as any average guy. The urge to check out my Facebook, Twitter, or even my blog stats is overwhelming at times. I do it at work, in the bathroom, and even when I’m out with friends or family. And it depresses me too. What about you? Do you think that this is just a sign of the times, and we should accept it, or think that it has gone just too far?