The day I left Budapest, I got on the metro with one or two heavy baggage. A guy was sitting on the edge of bench with a headset, holding an iPhone in his hand. He was obviously blocking the way to get in the carrier, but he didn't seem to be bothered by that fact. I tried to signal but my efforts remained unrecognised. As a last chance I knocked at his shoulder and said, "Pardon Sir, do you mind?" He looked annoyed, how I dared to disturb him?
Another day on a (not so) early morning, I was in late from work plus I missed my bus. The next one was about to come 11 minutes later. As it was a sunny day – so rare but so good! –, I decided just wait and bathed my face in the sun, eyes closed. Suddenly, I heared just „katt-katt-katt” of a phone, very quickly. A 15-16 years old girl was taking pictures of herself. Smiling, then a serious one, one more smiling, one more serious. The bus arrived, she has continued to do it even in the bus.
Not so long ago, I visit a friend of mine – even a very special one, whom I haven’t seen for years. We had an excellent, enjoyable first day, lot of things to say, to share, a real „retrouvaille”. But in a moment of the second day, I just wanted to take his tablet and iPhone, throw them out the window and say him: „Your stuff is still here tomorrow but not me”. (But he knows me, he seemed to grasp it – round in time.)
These have been a few moments when I felt I could run out of the world.
Well, I’m seeing you rolling your eyes and saying, „Dear God, NO! She will explain us about good old days, without a mobile phone, iPad, Facebook, how it was better and how these things destroyed the world.”
Don’t worry, I don’t. You can sigh with relief.
I wasn't born as a child of social media like children nowadays, but I have become one. And I have seen how fast it changed.
I joined Facebook before my first Erasmus in Angers – mon Dieu, I don’t want to know how many years ago! -, after a friend said to me „You CAN’T go abroad without an FB profile!” These days, only a few people used it in Hungary. (Later, it was the same friend who introduced me to Twitter and company…I have always admired, how he was so updated with all these things when it has not yet been developed in Hungary and how he could use it in a professional way so early!)
But returning to my so interesting FB story, I only added my new friends at the end of our „best semester ever”. Just one year later, during my second Erasmus and other „best semester ever” in Rouen, we couldn't set up have a party without an FB event and an FB invitation. Even I have learned from FB rather than from my boyfriend that he was taking our relationship seriously as he put „in couple” so fast after we had met that for a moment I really asked myself whether he was thinking that with me?! (He’s still alive, so yes, it was with me.)
But I have no excuse, now I'm as addicted as you are.
My FB is running even if I’m doing other things, my personal email is open during work and at my graduation ceremony I should have highly dedicated my diploma to the father of Wikipedia…
So nothing is black or white. (Especially before Christmas. Isn’t it dear WebComm colleagues?)
But are you sure, my dear Reader, you don’t miss more being always online and checking your messages and notifications? Do you need ALL of these information and should you post everything IMMEDIATELY? While walking on the street, meeting your friends, eating in a restaurant or being with your beloved one? I ‘d be surprised…
But let’s try it!
I don’t demand an impossible thing, try only for a few hours to look beyond your iPhone (replaced as needed), and see a bit around you. I’m pretty sure you will have more things to share after that. But also you will be surprised to see these „connected people” from outside. Honestly, sometimes it becomes frightening.
Social media and all these modern gadgets are really great and necessary nowadays. But I don’t think that simply reading the manual we can learn how to use it. We’d need some guidance on to learn how to use it in society, and how it can be a useful part of our life – but only a part.
And this is where our work becomes more important. Being a WebCommer is not only about informing. It’s also about sharing this culture and this approach.
So let’s enjoy the social media and the latest version of your stuff, but don’t forget to taste sometimes what the world can be without it!