“Elizabeth liked your profile picture on Facebook.”
“Ryan shared a photo of you on Instagram.”
All smartphone users would agree these are the typical notifications one receives in the span of 5 minutes. And we always have to answer them, even the unimportant ones. We answer them because they come so fast, and they keep coming. We’re always connected, staring at the little devices in our hands that essentially run our lives.
Social media has become a normal part of everyday life. We eat breakfast and text our friends with cereal in one hand and an iPhone in the other. We sit in class and tweet about things we’d rather be doing. Who needs a book or a newspaper when everything can be Googled in a matter of seconds?
I’m not saying social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are evil. Facebook is a great tool for keeping in touch with on -campus clubs, and Twitter is good for promotional purposes. But they also create tons of unnecessary data such as constant tweets and “poke wars.” There is a point when the flow of pointless information these sites produce becomes too much. Our brains cannot process that much information.
I set up an experiment to see how “connected” people are. I sat down in Yokum, waiting for a class to start and counted how many people were glued to their cell phones. Eleven people stood in the room, and 11 people were checking their phones.
Students crossed the street while tweeting, they walked from class to class “Yik Yak”-ing, and they pretended to look into their book bags when in actuality they checked their Facebook notifications. We do it because we’re scared — scared of being disconnected. It’s called nomophobia, or the fear of being out of mobile-phone contact.
And I’m no better. I fall prey to this “disease” too often. I’ll find myself sitting in class and checking my phone every few seconds. The phone vibrates in my pocket. If it vibrates for one second, I just received a notification. If the phone vibrates for two seconds, it’s a text message. A professor stands before me trying to impart knowledge that will actually help my future and here I am checking to see why my pants are vibrating. Sometimes my phone doesn’t even vibrate. The only information I attain is the time, which seems to move slower and slower the more I check my phone.
But I really do try to rise above it all. Sometimes when I’m having a rough day, or I know people I don’t want to talk to are trying to call me, I leave my phone at home. I’ll get out, go for a walk and lie in the grass. An article by the Huffington Post, “20 Scientifically-Backed Ways To De-Stress Right Now,” said, “Cell phones stress you out, there’s no question about that. Talking can even raise your blood pressure.”
The world is dependent on this type of technology today, and, in all honesty, I am grateful for it. We’ve come a long way from scribbling on cave walls. But technology is something we tend to take for granted and can be our downfall. Like Mr. Feeney from “Boy Meets World” said, “Guttenberg’s generation thirsted for a new book every six months. Your generation gets a new webpage every six seconds. And how do you use this technology? To beat King Koopa, and save the princess. Shame on you. You deserve what you get.”