It is exciting how there has become a sudden wake of the possible disadvantages of mobile technology, and other forms of tech that has have restricted and controlled our lives in their own little ways. Just last week, the dreadful happened and my IPhone fell from my bed and went blank. For some reason, rather than going to get it taken care of immediately so I could feed my daily desire for scrolling, liking, and ‘loling’; I decided to see if I could thoroughly work my life around it. For taking my spontaneous notes, I ensured I had a pen and a notepad in my bag at all times. For music, I allowed my laptop and the occasional ten minutes of MTV Base time handle it, and for pictures I figured the world wouldn’t care so much if they didn’t see my new looks for a week.
Interestingly, I found ways to navigate around the system. I realised that Instagram and WhatsApp actually had web versions — most social networks do, actually. However, because of the fact that these things were not mobile anymore, I barely checked them. I wasn’t restricted because I knew I could access them if I wanted to, but somehow they didn’t seem so important anymore. The hours I spent painstakingly scrolling through my Instagram feed daily, sporadically dropped to minutes in days — even when I knew I could very easily check as frequent. More so, the very basic understanding that emails and phone numbers are there to ensure that every important information got to me, kept me going. Guess what? I’ve been able to carry out more work, the usual stress that came from spending hours staring at the screen had vanished, and I was actually sleeping better!
Inasmuch as social media and mobile technology has come with so much good, it has made humans puppets to its availability. Social validation, acceptance, the need to move with trends, and a crazy desperation to show and tell, are just some of the things people have pointed as the reasons why there is an increasing dependence on our gadgets to survive. It is even worse with the growing availability of opportunities on social media platforms. People now believe that the more time they spend posting pictures and canvassing for likes and comments, the higher their chances of attaining “global” success. While, in truth, social media has created wealth for both its creators and users, it has made us shift our focus from the real world, to the virtual world.
The virtual world is perfection at its fullest. We now have the opportunity to hold our breaths for a few seconds and portray a reality that does not exist. Through texting, we have the options for smileys, and enjoy the ease of sending messages that do not nearly represent our current situations. However, of all the wonders the digital world has offered through mobile technology, the best has to be the opportunity to hold on to certain memories in little ‘smart boxes’. What many have called “show and tell” is just a part that stems from one core source — the desire to freeze memories. Not only do we want to tell people about our conquests, the fun we have, and sometimes just the food we eat, we also want to have vivid memories of the beautiful parts of our lives as we go on.
Rather than enjoy our adventures, we spend time recording the moment, taking pictures, and filling our memory boxes with information on our lives rather than living them. By so doing, we end up spending our entire lives filling spaces that our minds have the capacity to ordinarily hold on to. Now, there is nothing wrong with occasionally taking pictures and videos to show off past successes to your children. But there has to be balance. Balance is knowing that even though we need to take the pictures of our weddings, we must actually experience them. Balance is that we remember to meet friends and talk to them, rather than locking the memories on our phones or spending the most of the time we have with them, telling others about it.
To find balance, we need to learn to pause, and no app can make us find it. Not unless it controls our mind patterns. We wouldn’t want an app that would make us forget to take the pictures we need to take and record the videos we need to record — like your child’s first step. While mobile technology has given us the option of freezing moments, we need to devote more time to living. Our brains are much more functional than the other devices that have been created by humans. Surely it can withhold much more than they can. Besides, while our devices can be lost and our preserved memories can get corrupted or deleted, the chances of losing our memories are much slimmer. Occasionally, we need to forget that mobile technology even exists and take a few days to appreciate life as we know it — sucking in as much of it as we can. It is important because when all is said and done, the real memories we need to retain cannot be handled by mobile technology in all its glory. We need to give our minds something else to remember asides taking pictures and tweeting about the supposed best days of our lives.
Originally published at medium.com