We live in a different world today. The digital world.
A world where we can communicate with a friend living nine time zones away by picking up our mobile device, writing on their timeline and instantly get a response. Or pick up our tablet and Skype them to see them face-to-face, well sort of.
Our ability to connect is so vastly different than it was even 10 years ago, let alone when I was growing up calling my grandparents on a corded phone connected to the wall talking about all the activities I’ve done in the past six weeks since the last time I talked with them. Long distance calling was too expensive to call every day. This way of living is history. Today 328 of my not-so-closest friends will see photos and hear about the meal I ate 10 minutes ago. Grandma and Grandpa cherished those phone calls. Do you think your “friends” cherish your posts? Grandma and Grandpa probably still do, but that’s it.
Don’t get me wrong it’s fun to chat with people I wouldn’t have been able to connect with once upon a time, but really where is that time coming from? Have we magically grown more time with this new digital world? Not when we are talking about real relationships; we’ve actually shrunk it. We are stealing from the people right in front of us for the ones somewhere else with their nose stuck in their digital world ignoring their families too.
RELATIONSHIP MOTIVATES US
As of three months ago, NBC reported that the average American spends 40 minutes a DAY on Facebook. This doesn’t include Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any of the many online apps and games that suck people away from their real life to play with “friends” online. We are so drawn to relationships. It’s right smack in the middle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. We see online interaction as a connection with other human beings, and thus the viscous cycle begins. An addiction like no other, this appears to satisfy two of our basic needs, relationships and self esteem. We get excited when someone “likes” our stuff and agrees with our comment.
HANG YOUR LIFE ON A REAL WALL
We post all our images to our social sites and message them to friends and family. When we get photos taken, we just get a CD of them. For what? So we can post them to a site and plan to go get prints made someday when we have time? Then we put them in a drawer to deal with later. Digital copies of our portraits are fragile, some day we will not be able to access them. A good example is the “air” laptops and tablets. Where do you stick your CD to retrieve those beautiful family portraits now?
Many of us are so wrapped up in the digital world, that we forget the real world. We sit in an empty room with no family portraits on the wall, board games still in their wrappers and upload images to our flickr account to share with the world, and then get sidetracked checking our online game that “needs” our attention, our love.
Once upon a time, you could see a family portrait on the walls of homes. Home was warm and inviting and dinner was cooked and ready for the family gathered around the table. Chatter about everyone’s events of the day were shared there. Today, our walls are bare, and dinner is brought home from the closest fast food place.
Let’s think about what’s really important here. For me, behind the Almighty, my family is a close second. We can all work on that, and spend more time with our real family and less with the ones through the wireless router and 4G towers. Play more board games, go camping “disconnected,” eat at the dinner table together, hang beautiful family portraits on our walls, and embrace what Maslow hierarchy really was talking about, a complete balanced life.
This post was inspired by this YouTube video, titled, “Look Up.” If you haven’t already seen it, take a moment now to view it, and then get off this device and go give a little love to the people around you.
Written by Spokane Portrait Photographer, Dana Reinke of Creative Catch Studio