You may have seen a video going around on Facebook with a headline along the lines of, “If this video doesn’t convince you to put down your phone, nothing will.” If the claim made in the headline is true, I guess nothing will ever convince me to put my phone down. If you have not seen the video, it is of a man, who goes by the name Prince Ea on YouTube, reciting spoken word with the premise of how society is on their phone and social media so much that it has made us forget how to communicate with people face-to-face.
Prince Ea makes claims like, “Technology has made us more selfish and separate than ever, cause while it claims to connect us, connection has gotten no better.” Being “connected” and using technology are not mutually exclusive things. You can use technology and be connected. Believe it or not, technology can even make people more connected. For example, I do not have the opportunity to see many of my old friends from high school, but technology and social media allows us to stay connected and even allows our relationship to become stronger. Would I like to see them in person more often? Sure, but the use of my phone and social media is a pretty good substitute when I am not able to actually be with them. It is not that I am connected with them in spite of my use of technology and social media; I am connected with them because of my use of social media and technology.
Prince Ea goes on to say, “Mr. Zuckerberg, not to be rude, but you should reclassify Facebook to what it is, an anti-social network.” This just makes no sense. Facebook is definitely a social network. It is also ironic that the only reason the video got so many views is due to its presence on social media. I can think of plenty of instances where I have used it socially, such as asking some random person in my class for help on homework that I had no clue how to do. Interacting with a peer that I had never talked to previously seems pretty social to me.
Prince Ea is correct when he notes that we should not let technology and social media control our lives, but you could make that point about almost anything. Is there anything wrong with taking a Tylenol? No. Is it a good idea to take 100 of them at once? Probably not.
I understand it is not a good idea to spend all of your time on the phone or on social media, but just because I am using it does not mean I am becoming less connected with the world around me or that I am not building relationships with people. Often times, it is the exact opposite.
However, there is one thing that Prince Ea says that I strongly agree with. He says, “I’m not going to take a picture of my meals anymore. I’m just going to eat them.“ This is one trend that has been on the decline, but has not yet come to an end. It needs to cease. It’s pretty simple: just stop instagraming pictures of your food.