Don’t shoot the (mobile) messenger…
In recent months I have seen many articles talking about how people spend too much time looking at their mobile when they are walking, eating either by themselves or in company. There is even a photo exhibition: Removed, which shows the “damage” that the mobile phone is causing in our personal relations! It seems that there is a problem with the mobile, but as a tech fan (and also a humanist) I think we are missing the point here and I will probe it with a question:
have you ever seen anybody watching their turned off mobile?
I am not being sarcastic here. My point is that when we blame the technology as the guilty part damaging our relationships with others, etc. we are missing the forest and the trees too. It is not precise to say that people look at their mobile. People don’t get absorbed by their mobile and neither specifically by Whatsapp or Facebook or Feedly or whatever app you can think of. Not by the technology. They are actually absorbed by talking with their friends or reading news about their relatives or organizing a party using Facebook or relaxing playing a game. They may not be interacting with the person in front of them, but they (we) are none the less interacting with somebody else that is not physically there or with themselves.
Bottom line is: this is not a technological phenomena but a (complex) sociological and psychological one.
If we start to see it as it is a, socio-psycho and not a tech- phenomena, instead of shooting the messenger (the technology) we will better understand what is really happening: a society that is everyday more and more inter and intra connected in new ways. Only then we will be able to visualize what the future may look like for us.