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Pedro Piñera

Mobile Engineer at SoundCloud and Open-Source ♥



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We live in a connected world. We all are connected with our mobile phones, computers, social accounts. We spend our time tweeting, posting the photos of our last trip on Facebook, or recording Snapchats to let everyone know what we are doing right now. I watched this TED talk, Connected but alone? while I was having a coffee and it made me think about the way people interact nowadays. How this has changed compared to a few years ago and what does it mean for us, and for the future generations.


Social Networks

We don’t know how to live without social networks. It’s a reality. The young generations started this movement and later on, parents, and also grandparents joined it. When we first tried the social revolution it was odd. Why should we be sharing what we are doing every time something happens? No one used it as first, but the more people started using it the more addictive it became. People became interested in it, they could know about other peoples lives and also show off theirs. We got to that point where we needed to share every single thing that happened to us to truly believe it was happening. Your last party, the trip with your friends, your first summer swim, your birthday gifts, … It was (and it is) the perfect place to show off yourself. It became a race that fed ego and envy and I’m sure most of you have already felt it (I’m also part of it). Social networks also became the perfect procrastination place. They are the perfect showcase for people full of ego, for people that feel alone in the real world but full of friends in the social space and for gossip people that love knowing about others people life. Interactions turn into asynchronous.

Moreover, everybody seems happy on the internet. We share happiness and turn loneliness and bad things into positiveness. Because people out there cannot see us sad, right? That makes social networks a fake environment. When you get surrounded by such positiveness any negative feeling in your life makes you feel bad. How is it possible that I feel such in a bad mood when everyone around me seems to be so happy? In that regards, I try to stay away from social networks as much as possible. It’s hard since social networks is the only way to reach most of your friends nowadays, and you want be in touch with your friends and family that are remote. It’s very important to use social networks consciously, but I’m the first one being unconscious when it’s about using them. I spend time scrolling down to see what’s new around me, to see who posted what, or who had a trip recently.

We stopped interacting face to face, your eyes in front of other person’s eyes. Instead, we spend time thinking about how to formulate our thoughts, how to make the other person think about us what we’re not actually feeling.


Messaging

Social networks were only the first step. Messaging apps quickly joined to this party. Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Snapchat. Each of them trying to offer more than their competitor, videos that can only be seen once, stickers, customised photos,… Social networks like Facebook noticed this was going to be the next big revolution in communications and they acquired Whatsapp paying $22 Billion. People started moving their conversations to these platforms, where you can think about what you are going to reply, where you can use emojis to express yourself and hide yourself behind a screen. People feel more secure when they use these apps because they are not looking at the other person eyes. You can be sharing something which is not what you’re feeling. Only when you talk to that person face by face, can notice these feelings. And that’s what makes communication so special. We’re getting so used to messaging apps that when we have to speak in front of another person we don’t know how to express ourselves.

It has happened to me trying to express myself in front of another person or a group of people and not being able to say anything. Struggling to convert my ideas into words, to listen to the other person and keep up with the conversation. I had to made some effort to learn back what I forgot.

It’s hard for me to see how new generations are more and more into mobile phones and social apps. Seeing group of young people hanging out and looking at their mobile phones instead of talking to each other laughing and having fun. It’s also hard to see how my family is too addicted to it. Talking to them means talking about what’s going on on the social world, who married whom, who posted what,… People are forgetting what listening it, what paying attention to a person who is talking is, because when you’re speaking, the other person is thinking about when he/she will get a new Whatsapp or when he/she’ll get a new like on his/her uploaded photo. Can we be connected in this social revolution?

  • Don’t use your mobile phone when you’re with your friends. Enjoy the beer! And make sure, you all have fun.
  • If you’re dating a girl/guy, remember, mobile at home!
  • If your children spend a lot of time with the mobile phones then spend some time teaching them how fulfilling real relationships are.
  • If you feel like you are scrolling too much on Facebook, think about your finger getting damaged and another cool things that you could be doing instead.
  • If other person’s life is more interesting than yours then move the focus back to yours because your life is passing.

Have social networks affected you or any person around you negatively? Feel free to write a comment commenting how you addressed the problem. It’s up to us to stop this.