Does social media equal anti-social?


palmAs I was at the grocery store the other day, a young woman in front of me was busy texting as she slowly put her items up on the counter. The girl behind the register worked as quickly as she could given her customer’s unwillingness to put the cell phone away for a few minutes. I was tempted to say something but decided to keep my mouth shut. Since I wasn’t in a hurry, I just watched. I wanted to see if the woman would eventually put her phone away and pay attention to what she was doing.

She didn’t.

When it came time to pay, and only after she had finished sending a message, she swiped her card, picked up her bag and left. Not once did she make eye contact with the cashier. Not once did she even acknowledge the cashier…at all!

When the cashier started to ring my things up, I asked if that type of thing got to her. She just shrugged and said, “I’m used to it.”

What a sad statement!

There have been other times too, when I’ve seen cell phones get in the way of in-person communication. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been having face-to-face conversation with someone and all of a sudden they put one hand up, palm toward me, while they tap their ear with the other hand. Suddenly they’re whisked way from what’s going on in front of them and are deep into a conversation with someone who isn’t even there. An example of this is when a guy came to my home to give me an estimate on some work I wanted done. As we were standing in my living room talking about the work, the guy’s phone rang. He flashed me the hand, tapped his Bluetooth, and turned his back to me as he started talking. It was only when he finished talking to the person on the phone that he turned his attention back to me. He was politely escorted out of my house and didn’t get the job.

As much as I love social media and all the technology surrounding it, I honestly believe cell phones, texting, and the Internet in general are to blame for a lot of the anitsocial behavior today. It’s ironic actually, that the very technology that’s helping us become more social is also helping us become less social!

So what’s the solution?

It’s actually quite simple, really.

Turn the phone off. Take the Bluetooth out of your ear. Close your laptop. Pay attention to the person in front of you. Please!

Seriously…it’s that easy!

Honestly, what’s that important that you need to totally dis the person you’re face-to-face with so you can talk to someone who has interrupted you? Let your voice mail do what it was created to do – take a message. And if it’s a text, that can wait too. Technology is great, but remember that it’s supposed to help us be more social…not less!

[tags]social media, anti-social behavior, technology[/tags]

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1 Comment

  1. Sue Rostvold

    Ouch! Talk to the hand, eh? It’s like it’s technology has given us permission to be rude.

    Yes, I’ve seen that before at the grocery store. And honestly, I think I may have done it a time or two myself, but in my defense, it was only because I couldn’t get off the phone because the other person was yammering or having a crisis of some sort. But I do agree with what you are saying. We all need to pay attention when we are out in the world. And if at all possible, have some manners.


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