by Ariane Cunningham
If I am at a cocktail party, a social gathering, or meeting a friend for coffee or dinner, I do not want to be the smartest person in the room or at the table. I like to be intrigued by hearing things I do not know. I like to be challenged through conversation on opinions that I hold. I love respectful, intelligent, and thought-provoking debate. I love laughing at jokes that I have never heard before.
All of these things cannot happen while looking down at my iPhone. Sure, there is information overload on social media. Opinions by those you know and those you do not know. This interaction can create and in ways encourage an increase in knowledge base. There are brilliant virtual learning programs that enable people across the world to connect, learn, and engage.
But, in social settings, there is nothing like engaging with others in person. Observing their facial expressions, hand movements while they talk, the way their eyes squint when they genuinely smile. The more mature I become, the more I yearn for more in-person social settings. These settings feel different from texting or sending back-to-back e-mails hours upon hours. It feels different from a random video chat. These days, I will take hearing the sound of someone’s voice, even in the form of a voice memo, over a barrage of text messages. I will take seeing someone in person, if geographically possible, or attending an in-person social event over spending hours on social media.
Full disclaimer: I love my iPhone. I am writing this post to admit my adoration and sometimes overuse of my iPhone. I am writing this as someone who is acknowledging my own smartphone overuse, which is the first step to recovery.
As much as I love my iPhone, I love actual in-person and voice interaction even more.
Time to meet up with or call that friend I have been texting for the past two weeks.