Sigh…Leave it to someone like CNN Contributing Journalist Bob Greene to resurrect the pseudo-intellectual rantings of Daniel Seiberg’s “My Declaration of Disconnection” of January 2010. Mr. Greene’s new article entitled “Don’t Sleep with your Smart Phone” has been causing some waves throughout the social media community of late. If you haven’t read these articles as of yet, you could probably guess that they both claim that most of today’s public and certainly all of whom own cell phones and belong to social media sites are hopelessly addicted to the detriment of their own lives. Basically, be afraid of Smart Phones, Facebook, and any other bit of technology that sucks your life away.
Maybe we should talk about why they feel this way. Were they not able to strike a logical balance between using these items and their general, moral, and practical or circumstantial responsibilities? Are they attempting to make the new “cool”, to be the anti-trend setter? What are we supposed to take from these articles? What are we actually learning that I sure hope we already know? Of course, you cannot let these items either rule your life, ruin your life, or even just be the extent of your social communication. Are we really saying that, we as a race, are so weak that we have to lock our cell phones away when we sleep and cancel all of our social media accounts because we are hopelessly addicted? I remember when all the pseudo-intellectuals claimed this about our television sets. I understand that there are probably some people who do have a serious problem with addiction to…well…anything, but let’s not make this a sweeping generality. In my experience, most people are able to strike a good to moderately o.k. balance between technology and their day-to-day lives. Hmm…is this not the point? Technology such as what has been discussed tends to make things easier, faster, and how dare I say….better.
Who’s fault is it then that Daniel Seiberg found himself so addicted to his social media accounts that he had to quit them cold turkey? Who’s fault is it that Bob Greene has to lock his smart phones in another room in order to sleep? Simply put, it is their fault. They could not hack keeping up a logical balance between the two. In regards to substance addiction, the substance can make it very difficult or impossible to strike a balance between decent safe reality and hopeless detriment. In regards to technology addiction, you are led by desire, ego, or perceived desperate need to have it at all times lest you become disconnected. Greene and Seiberg’s harrowing examples of how technology is bad for us are nothing but examples of their own inability to cope with the world of today.
What is all of this supposed to do? Are we headed into an age where having more than a certain amount of friends on Facebook, or spending more than an allotted amount of time on a smart phone will be deemed as socially “uncool”? I am all for freedom of speech, but I can do without the social morality police breathing down my neck telling me that everyone is somehow hopeless to some extent.
What is also interesting to me is that of all the potential addictions or immoral behaviors to talk about, they have discussed addiction to smart phones and social media. Maybe we all have addictions to some extent. Maybe we all have made mistakes in our lives. Maybe we can overcome that which has caused imbalance in our lives. Maybe many people already are doing a wonderful job at just that. If you have to leave your social accounts in the dust in order to pay attention more to your loved ones or hide your smart phones to sleep, then so be it, but that is not helping your issue. Your issue is to live in this wonderfully technologically advanced world with all of its trappings, be balanced in your day-to-day, and to still make a positive contribution to yourself and to the people of this world.
Is this really that difficult?
~ Erik Sudberg