Mobiles eat Moments

We have a problem. Yes, we can all see from the endless stats that evidence the negative impact computers/ the internet/ our phones are having on our daily lives. But, we are also met with the tension of the many possibilities and opportunities that all of this technology provides us. One minute we’re being told “GET OFF YOUR PHONE!” and the next minute we’re being told (or expected) to “STAY CONNECTED!”. It’s confusing…which is why we’re all still walking around with our faces glued to screens, right?

I quite often have the urge to go back to the good old days of a basic Nokia with only text and call functions, but then I think about how many WhatsApp groups I’ll miss out on, or how I’ll never know the best route from Oxford Circus to London Fields without the help of Citymapper, or that I won’t be able to track that occasional run on Nike+. I am a person craving to disconnect, but reliant on being connected.

So then I start feeling bad about myself… “Seriously, you really need Citymapper and Whatsapp to live your life?!”… Well, no actually…and it’s not really Whatsapp and Citymapper that are making me want to disconnect from it all. These apps serve a function; they save me time and help me socialise. What’s really making me want to disconnect is this reality that I can no longer have experiences with people without technology (in particular mobile phones) disrupting them.

I invite friends over for dinner who I haven’t seen in weeks… I feel the table vibrate on and off for pretty much the whole sitting. I go to a gig or a party…my companion spends the whole time concentrating on getting it all on Snapchat. Something spontaneous and funny happens…everyone rushes to their phones to try and capture it and misses half the moment (*hands up* regretfully, I have totally been that person before!).

When I dig deeper into the cause of it all, I become a bit perplexed. Have we become so caught up in our “instant” culture that we can’t not respond to a text or a social media comment immediately? Has online and offline become so fluidly integrated that we cannot distinguish which interactions to prioritise in a given moment? Are we actually placing more value on capturing the moment rather than living it? I really couldn’t tell you.

Whatever the reasoning, it’s ruining our best moments.

I mean, we are supposedly in the ‘age of experience’ but are we really experiencing it all?

This takeover is happening to the best of us. It’s not like these moments I’m referring to are with people I would usually define as technology addicts, it’s just normal everyday people who happen to have a mobile (but perhaps subconsciously are hooked up to it like a drip?… perhaps).

I think what I’m trying to say is…mobile phones are great and they have their value, but perhaps as they grow to consume every part of us we should think about how we might achieve a kind of “shoes off at the door” policy to enable us to start living actual moments in real life again.

Or similarly, if we are living in a mobile world where this kind of technology is embedded into all of our experiences, how can we stop it from swallowing them whole and instead make these moments better, less disrupted, and really experienced to their best extent?