Sunday, January 31, 2016

But First, Let's Take A Selfie

But First, Let's Take A Selfie

     When it comes to smart phones and their impact on conversation quality and overall human

interaction, there a lot of differing opinions. On one hand, it's true that it has become increasingly

common to see multiple people physically together, but mentally apart due to everyone's fascination

with their virtual world held in their hands. But on the other hand, it is true that these people could

very well be speaking to a loved one who does not live near by, answering an important business-

related email, or even virtually responding "yes" to a volunteer event on Facebook. That's why I

think that we are ourselves are the only ones who can truly determine if in that moment the people

around us physically, or the people we can only connect to through technology, take priority.

     While I myself usually opt to talk with the people physically around me, I am in no way offended

when others choose differently, because in some situations I choose this as well. For example, in one

of my classes, I usually get there about fifteen  minutes early due to my previous class being next

door. I choose to use these fifteen minutes (which

is a valuable chunk of time for a busy college student) to catch up on my sorority's social media

accounts since I am Marketing Chair. It is true that for these fifteen minutes I could talk to my

classmates around me, and get to know them, since it is also true these people all have stories and

lives that are no doubt interesting and valuable. But for me, these fifteen minutes allow me to take a

break from classes and focus my energy on something that is very important to me; being the best

Marketing Officer I can be while making my Chapter look our best. While some may consider this

rude, I see this as me simply choosing to focus my energy on something that is more important to

me. Even though it is great to push our boundaries and exchange with people close to us, to live

more in the moment, it is also great to take time for ourselves and to give our energy to other

important factors in our lives, even if that means looking at a phone screen instead of at the people

around us.

     In Hector Carel's blog post, he states, "Social media, and smartphones for that matter, only

contributes to make our social experiences richer by connecting us with people in new ways." For

lack of better words, I agree and disagree with this statement. I think that our smartphones enrich our

lives when what we see on them is important to us. For example, if you are sitting on a bus with

strangers, you could make small talk with them and converse. Or you could read a recent blog post

your Facebook friend posted. Chances are, you probably care more about what someone you already

know and clearly care about has written than how the person's next to you's day has been, especially

if they're getting off at the next stop. In a recent study, "46% of smartphone owners say their

smartphone is something 'they couldn't live without,' compared with 54% who say that their phone is

'not always needed'" (

and-their-smartphones/). Clearly, there is a lot of debate on the importance smartphones should have

in your life, which is why we ourselves are the only ones who can determine if our physical or

virtual world take priority in a situation.

     The term "selfie" has become a popular notion to poke fun of in the last year, with people's minds

immediately turning to 13 year old girls taking ridiculous "duck face" selfies only to post them on

their Instagram with a song quote as the caption, but in reality a "selfie" can be more than that. To

my mom, a selfie is a way she can snap a picture with one of her kids, while trying to relate with us

on what's "cool" right now. Or, it could be you trying to take a picture of yourself with an amazing

background. My point is this: much like the usage of smartphones in public places, a selfie is

recognized in many different ways and is prioritized differently to individuals. We can't tell the

importance a selfie has to someone else, only to ourselves, and that is why only we should be able to

decide if something on our phones trumps a person next to us without judgement. Ultimately, it is

just another device, and if we want to invest time into it, we, as individuals, should have that right.

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