Picture this, Four friends are sitting and talking, having a jolly good time when Rakesh gets ‘whatsapped’. He quickly reads and replies to it. The others taunt him for a while and then continue the conversation. Although Rakesh joins back in the conversation, half his mind is still on the message he sent.
A couple of minutes later Rakesh gets another message and he urges everyone to give him a few seconds while he replies. While the silence sets in, Tony and Ajeya look at their phones to see if they are missing anything and find a few forwards to read. After all, everyone wants to show they are busy they are connected and involved with other things. Ten minutes later almost everyone is on the phone and except for an occasional laughter or a sneeze, a deathly silence sets in the group.
What happened here?
How did a fun group become so silent in such a short time?
The need to stay connected with all of your friends, the need to be wanted on the digital, has taken over the connections in real life.
Let me explain.
Today more folks are talking to people with zeros and ones(digital) than in real life.Yes, it is convenient, easy and inexpensive, but is also impersonal, bland, completely disconnected. I have over 600 hundred friends across the globe and I get to see what is happening in their life, I ‘feel’ connected to them. Your story may not be much different.And there lies the problem for you and I.
Humans are emotional machines, they shift from one emotion to another, gradually, something that I refer to as ‘Analog behaviour’. Humans are not digital, they cannot switch emotions on and off. But this is precisely the habit they are getting into. In the name of staying connected, they disconnect from their immediate surroundings.And find solace in the company of someone far away using the digital means. Slowly they lose the sense of even being connected.
In this day and age, your connections are measured in the number of messages you get, the number of photos you share and the likes you receive for them, rather than the twinkle in the eye of the person you spoke with, the deep sense of satisfaction you get when you connect with someone at a human level.
In the name of being hurt or rejected we often tend to use the digital. Rejections are less painful when you do not have to face the person who rejected you. It is less painful when nobody pays attention to your messages in a WhatsApp group chat than in a real life group chat
Too many people are yearning for that human connection, yet do too little to get started in connecting. We all are prone to inertia and the lethargy has set in. The newest of all reasons is that nobody wants to stand out in the crowd.
What should we do?
Break the lethargy and inertia.
Stop texting, call that person instead. And instead of talking to ten people on WhatsApp, go meet a friend, spend an evening just shooting the breeze and rediscover how wonderful it is to connect with another human being the old way…..