I love social media, I absolutely love it. I love tweeting and texting and instagramming and facebooking – it’s safe to say I am a social media harlot.
In this day and age of smartphones and 3g, much of our social media participation is done on the go. I’m talking checking in at the cinema, instagramming your dinner at a restaurant, or tweeting about your night out. That’s fine, I do it too. I encourage it, I embrace it. What I DO have a pet peeve about is social media(ing) in the company of others. Now I don’t mean walking along, or hanging out in a common room chilling and chatting. I mean real company, spending quality time with someone.
It has become all too normal to turn up to a bar meeting friends for drinks and put your phone on the table. It’s of course, fine it you’re waiting for an important call ot an email, but not if you’re waiting for a retweet or a ‘like’ notification. What, is then wrong with the company you are keeping? Are they less important to you that one of your 300 facebook friends commenting ‘fit’ on your new selfie? They can’t be, otherwise you wouldn’t have arranged to meet them in person.
It makes me so mad when I’m having lunch with someone and they check their phone. Instantly, there’s a digital barrier between us and all connection and conversation flow can vanish. Again, it’s fine if they’re showing me a picture of something or a hilarious vine, but to connect with the virtual world when they should be connecting with the real world? No. Not on.
I recently raised this issue with Boyfriend. I told him, that when I’m having drinks with friends at Uni, there are no phones on the table, that the conversation and banter is on fire and everyone is genuinely interested in each other – and how utterly refreshing it is. Then I told him what I’m telling you, how cross I feel when social media company is put before my company (or maybe I’m just THAT boring?!). He commented, that maybe phones and social media in company is our new norm in society, not something to feel angered or upset about. This saddened me. I love social media, I’ll be the first and loudest to admit it. But not when I’m around others, not when I’m enjoying real life, my life, and living it to the full.
Ever since I can remember, phones or laptops have not been permitted at dinner or drinks in my family. If you use your phone at our dinner table, you will be asked to leave. I believe this is how it should be. It is the height of rudeness to start a conversation with someone else whilst spending quality time with a person, so why is it okay to do it virtually?
I’m not campaigning we all put down out smartphones and digital detox. I’m not going to go all crazy and throw a friends phone across a room if they dare brandish it in front of me. I’m just trying to get us all to have a little think, about our social media habits, about our phone habits when in the company of others. What do you think? I’d be really interested to hear another take on this. Feel free to like, retweet, comment, poke, repost, or any other social media action you can think of. All I know is, I won’t be checking if you did, whilst in the company of others.