Dear [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE],
Now, don’t be alarmed. It’s okay. You’re in the circle of trust among friends and family who love you and want to help you. We think you might have a problem …
If you haven’t been the victim, I mean subject, of an intervention, this is pretty much how they start out. I’m about to host one for my sister-in-law, but she’s so absorbed in social media right now, I’m afraid I might actually have to do it virtually, on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Facebook, Twitter and the plethora of social media tools and toys as much as the next person, and they can really be helpful in day-to-day life, not to mention super fun, but as they say … everything in moderation … right?
This past Sunday, my super hubbie hosted what was supposed to have been a surprise birthday gathering (a surprise which I, of course, ruined because I have to know everything!). For the first time since our wedding five years ago, we decided to bring together my family (brother, sister-in-law and nephew – the only family I have nearby) and his locally based family (three cousins, their spouses, children, etc.) and of course, my two kitties. Now, in all fairness, this was bound to be a bit of a social challenge, as my hubbie’s family is international with folks coming from Peru and Spain, and we all speak Spanish when we’re together. I did my best to remind people to speak English (I’m the only Spanish speaker in my family), but it didn’t always happen.
At any rate, I was surprised and slightly annoyed that my naturally social butterfly sister-in-law was totally engrossed in her Android device instead of making an effort to interact and get to know the family. She spent the majority of the evening texting, making status updates, probably “checking in” to what I fear was my home address, tagging bad pictures of me and who knows what else. It’s my BIRTHDAY for crying out loud. I didn’t realize how much it bothered me until I read a recent article in The Huffington Post, by contributor Brian Harke, dean of students at University of Southern California, and sat down to write this post.
In his piece, Harke tells an amusing story about a student’s rude, mobile-related behavior at a dinner with professors and other professionals. He poses the question “Is Social Media Making Us Anti-Social?” At first I thought, nah, that’s just crazy talk. But, now that I think about it, maybe he’s onto something. Are we so preoccupied with our mobile devices and what’s going on via our favorite social media channels that our live interpersonal skills are beginning to decline?
What do you think? Are you guilty of committing a social faux pas because of your love for social media or a need to be connected to your mobile device 24/7?
A little bit about me: I begrudgingly love my new iPhone. I’m having an on-again off-again fling with technology – it’s on when it’s actually useful and off when it’s just the latest way to waste time. Admittedly, I have a mobile shopping addiction problem, but am getting help. It hurts my feelings when reporters don’t respond to my amazing pitch emails, but I’m secretly envious of them, since they get to spend their days writing about cool stuff. I like piña coladas, have two kitties that just turned three and they’re my babies.