If you think tech progress is going on somewhere ‘out there’, beyond our daily lives, think again. What it actually does is profoundly change the way we think, speak, and behave. And more than that, tech devices are available on every corner. And what they offer us are opportunities. Opportunities to grow and evolve. Just think about it: we have everything and more. Companies like Dibbsto UK provide us with affordable 3D printers that can be used at home, Neurolink is making progress in creating the world’s first brain chip. And still, the most commonly used device is the smartphone, which we will discuss in spades.
Let’s dig a little deeper and find out how we can get all the perks of modern technology without falling victim to its side effects. So following this structure we will discuss the pros and cons of smartphones and social media and what to do about the situation.
Smartphone vs smart brain
Smartphones are one of the best presents technology has given our every-day lives. Most of us don’t even know (or frankly want to know) how this device actually works. How it transmits signals to satellites on the Earth’s orbit and catches those signals bouncing back. We are only interested in speed and functionality.
Pros of smartphones:
Do we even have to discuss it? The pros are evident, aren’t they? You have a computer the size of your hand! Not just a computer. A computer with almost all of the information that the humankind has accumulated, successfully stashed in your pocket. Stuck in traffic for hours? Here’s some music, or podcasts, or lectures, or audiobooks. Whatever you like, just click the right button. You are not lost in strange places anymore. You don’t have to count anymore, or read maps, or remember anything, really…This can mean that you have a lot of memory space opened and available for useful information.
Take away your phone and you feel completely lost. Really. Nowadays it’s even hard to imagine going to another city, better yet, stepping out of the house without your phone. What if I have to call someone? What if someone calls me? What if my battery dies? We became too dependent on our devices for everything. We don’t remember recipes, phone numbers, schedules, etc. It has become so easy to make us instantly helpless.
In your relationship with your smartphone, you should be the smart one. Use it when necessary, but remember important information yourself, without relying on the device. I’m not talking about memorizing half of Wikipedia. I mean at least your family’s phone numbers, and useful skills, for example how to change a tire (without watching a YouTube video). Don’t start your day by grabbing the phone. It seems like a small step, but you will learn some self-control and give your eyes a rest. The same goes for falling asleep. Naturally, your phone is a useful tool and no one should give it up, but be in control of it. Not the other way around. Try to go an hour/two/three with your phone in another room and fight the urge to go and get it the second you are bored.
Social media vs life communication
It’s hard to imagine that a whole generation of young people doesn’t really picture their life without social media. And naturally, this didn’t happen overnight, but lo and behold, millions of people are hooked on it to a degree of madness. But it’s not all bad, is it?
Pros of social media:
Social media is first and foremost, a genius tool of spreading information quickly and effectively, reaching your target audience. If you want to get a message out there, the fastest way to do it is through social media. You can sell effectively, you can help those who need your skills and knowledge, you can keep friendships alive through great distances and finally, you can get support and help if you are in a tough spot in your life. The key component in handling social media correctly is pacing yourself as there is just too much incorrect or downright false information out there.
Ah, the sweet lies of social media… Can we avoid them? And if yes, then what is the antidote?
If you see a ‘perfect mom’ on Instagram, do you feel the prick of conscience that you don’t see yourself that way at all? Or when you see that guy with the perfect body and an army of followers, do you ever think ‘I’ll never be like him’? The truth is, social media distorts reality, showing us snippets of someone else’s ‘perfect’ life, when in fact, it’s all polished, perfected moments, after which they return to their day-to-day activities, just like you. That doesn’t mean you can’t get inspired by these people and try to perfect yourself. You should do that by all means. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that their whole life is that perfected image.
The antidote to all this chaos is live communication. See 3-dimensional people more often than you browse on social media. Talk to them, read their reactions, see their real lives and concerns. Learn from them, get inspired, get connected. Why do you think there’s so much hate on social media? Because you can easily type something that you would never dare say to someone in person. We all know that kids can be mean. We’ve all seen them be pretty verbally aggressive towards one another. But when does their behavior usually shift? When they see the hurt and tears they have caused with their words on the other person’s face. They read the reactions and make conclusions. The same goes for adults. And what do you do when there’s no reaction in front of you? Say whatever you please. So by all means, use social media for your needs, but never for a minute think that it can be a substitute for real-life communication. If you feel that you are somewhat addicted, set a schedule for yourself. Have a few gadget-free hours during the day, and try to compare yourself only to who YOU were yesterday. It’s easier said than done, but if you succeed, social media will not grasp you so intensely anymore and you can use it to your own advantage, not the other way around.
Technology is here to help us. Help us grow, learn, communicate, and get smarter. But it can also make us waste time pointlessly and numb ourselves to all the emotions we don’t want to be feeling. So train yourself to depend less and less on the gadgets that were invented to help us and make progress in the real world by perfecting yourself and your skills.