There were 2 news stories that caught my attention today: The release of the new iPad, and the newest phobia…”nomophobia,” the fear of being without your phone/mobile device.
Both of these stories forced me to stop and think about the adaptations technology has made to accomodate to social media. Everything we use today, the new products at least, revolve around making access to our virtual surroundings easier. When you think about it, lots of things we use to fill our time aren’t even physically there. Facebook is just a bunch of pictures and text on a server, nobody really has physical prints of their Friday nights, and if you were to wait for this blog post to be printed..it would probably be outdated by the time you read it. The world of social media and technology has allowed us to be accustomed to instant information. Honestly though, would you buy the newest Apple iProduct if you knew you could never get Facebook, Twitter or the next craze right at your fingertips? As much as I hate to admit it, I probably wouldn’t.
Do you remember when Michael Jackson died? Do you remember how you heard about it? I do. I saw it on someones Facebook status…then I Googled it to see if it was true. I was able to find the information I wanted so quickly that I could post my own Facebook status about it. Conversely, on September 11th, 2001, when I was in 6th grade, the only way I knew how to get my information was by watching the news on TV or by reading the newspaper.
In just a short few years, the entire way we communicate and get our information has changed. We no longer depend on TV, radio and newspapers to get our information. I can remember the first time we started up our new family PC. It was a Gateway, and when you left alone for too long, that cool space travel starry screen saver would come up. The first time it happened, my whole family got up from the dinner table to watch it; now we’re all excited that our calendars can instantly update themselves to match on all our mobile devices (finally iCloud works!). I guess my point is, as much as we’ve created the creature that is technology..it has created a whole new generation of communicators. Communicators that demand instant information. Growing up, I could never have imagined using the kind of technology that today I can’t imagine living without. I guess that explains nomophobia, right? N0-mo(bile)-phobia!? Seriously? People actually get diagnosable anxiety due to separation from their mobile devices. Separation from their texts, their Facebooks, their Twitter accounts, stuff that we all lived without for YEARS.
I’m not saying that all this development and the surplus of information and communication out there is bad, but its really interesting to think how small it’s making our world. Just this morning, a friend I made in Thailand while I was away on IQP posted about something she did that made her think of me. Lots of our mutual friends commented on it, in Thai. All I had to do was translate the page in Google, and boom…I “understood” a different language. Needless to say my friends thought I was awfully crafty replying to her comments in Thai, but isn’t that the beauty of the internet? Things that used to keep people and cultures isolated from each other, no longer do so, it’s pretty cool!
I’ve grown to depend on all this technology, as I’m sure you have too. Everything from translating foreign languages to ensuring you will never miss your favorite TV show to communicating with your friends on the other side of the world. As long as technology and social media are around we will never be without information. If information is power, then I guess that makes us all pretty powerful huh? Not so fast. Becoming too dependent on this technology leaves us powerless. As great as having the newest iPad in your cohort of gadgets would be, is it worth suffering nomophobia?
Check out this video, it gives a really cool perspective:
Thanks for reading!