Unplug or Just Another Form of FOMO?

This video has been making the rounds this past week. One of my meetup.com groups actually set aside this week as a week to unplug from our technology and reconnect with those around us. I certainly understand the struggle to find some balance between one’s work life and personal life and because so many of us work with technology, it can all seem to blend together. I’ve heard more than a few techies set aside one day a week to do non-tech unplugged activities. One author reclaimed her Jewish heritage of observing the Sabbath, not for religious reasons but because it made sense in this life.

Before my illness and before my time with Tricia, I was certainly one of those who never took the time to unplug and give myself a break from all of the blinking lights and constant input. But I thought I’d reached a pretty good balance at least not-working when Tricia was around and we’d find fun things to do in our time off. It does help to have someone to share the adventures with to be able to break away from all of the noise and busy-ness. Running solo these days means I have to be all the more vigilant to take time away from the tech and that’s not so easy to do.

Morning Conversation by marty hadding, (cc) Attribution Some rights reserved
Morning Conversation by marty hadding, (cc) Attribution Some rights reserved

One thing that bothers me about this video, though, is the notion that it’s technology’s fault if we aren’t communicating with our neighbors or don’t have someone special in our lives. Poor guy, he was looking at his phone when the girl of his dreams walked by and so he missed out on a perfect existence all because of his damn phone. Really? What a bunch of overly sentimental nostalgia-laden bullshit. I’m sorry, but I don’t need a smart phone to ignore those around me. Let’s not blame our tech for our behavior. In fact, the notion that I’m missing out in a better life because of my technology that’s the same silliness called FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out,” that sometimes causes people to foolishly keep checking their email or FaceBook, just in case something better is going on somewhere else. If you want a better life, your phone isn’t stopping you from it. In the video, the girl sitting at the bus stop next to the two others on their phones, there’s no reason she can’t say “hello.” Finding fault, especially in our inanimate objects, more or less shows that we’re not ready to do whatever we need to do to have this mythical “better life.”

I wonder if the video makers would blame books if the two girls at the bus stop were reading. I mean, because it doesn’t take a smart phone to be anti-social. Those evil books, keeping me from having meaningful relationships and deep conversations. Damn those evil books. Yeah, we could do better to foster better relationships with one another, but it’s not our phone’s fault. In fact, when I’m done here I think I’ll use my phone to call a friend I haven’t spoken to in ages.

Hung Up by Jurvetson, (cc) Attribution Some rights reserved
Hung Up by Jurvetson, (cc) Attribution Some rights reserved


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