Have you ever been in that moment where you have over 1000 digital friends and you still have no one to talk to when times are hard?
One of my all-time favorite, girls-night-in with lots of cookies kind of movie has an extremely observant scene about our age and how difficult it makes us to 'connect' with each other. And by connecting, I do not mean being able to talk to each other more efficiently than the era before this one.
What I mean is that new style of social interaction where we get to hear about each other, spectate each other, and like each other over advanced forms of technology which are in fact, not able to transmit any real human interaction as well as emotions, body language, and any specific mood.
The state where comments fill in for conversations, likes fill in for compliments and accepted friendships fill in for meeting new people but not being able to have the same positive impact as they should because these things are originally meant to happen face to face and over drinks, not screens.
The amount of our connectivity though has a particularly negative impact on our personal lives because of two main reasons;
1. Scrolling and scrolling all day long, we live under the impression that everyone but us is very lucky or wealthy or skinny or successful.
The only real reason behind that is this: We do not share our low moments. And without a doubt, we all have them but since no one is sharing those, they become almost invisible. When you scroll at this moment, the things you get to see are gourmet dinners, destination heavens, designer clothes and so on. You do not see fights with best friends, disagreements with bosses, or self-awareness of our insecurities.
This makes us feel alone because we do not get the feeling like we 'fit in' anymore which is the basic need of a human being who lives in a community. Instead, we feel like everyone else is partying and we are alone, suffering at home. Just like the nights where you spend the new year's eve alone.
2. We think we have a lot of friends who just adore us only because they've liked our photo and even in some cases, just because they have 'seen' it, but really, we don't have anyone to talk to.
Are we really? I mean, just because someone has seen our post, we feel like we have received some kind of an approval from our peers, family and the world. Did we really just set our standards that low?
And while we are quite fine with setting them so low, why are we so depressed to find out that those digital friends of ours are not really willing to perform what friends would usually do. They are not willing to meet us, listen to us and help us when we need them because their prerequisites were not these to become friends with us. Instead, they had liked, shared, commented or put some emoticons in our recent posts. It is like they were hired under a different job description and naturally, they are now rejecting additional workloads.
When these two reasons combine and enter our lives, the inevitable result is that we feel disconnected and alone even though we have thousands of 'friends'. We feel like we are constantly being rejected by many different technologies throughout the day and these platforms themselves turn into magic mirrors where the longer we look the more we face our miserable lives.
Well, so now you probably think where the solution to this problem is and you are right. We definitely need one. From my recent experience with my media detox, I believe the answer lies in awareness first because even without a change of behavior, awareness reduces the impact of any issue on our mental health. When we know the possible outcome of something, it is a little less surprising when that really happens.
So, if you think you cannot unsubscribe or deactivate just yet, know the possible harms coming your way. Be aware so that you are not caught unguarded. Simple it may sound, but for starters, it is more than enough.
And before you go, as a reminder please take a moment to watch the scene I mentioned earlier where Mary, the character played by Drew Barrymore seems to agree with us all that this whole thing is very exhausting. Enjoy!
Click here to watch the scene.