Are you living through the looking glass instead of living life? ep6


Today Alice doesn’t go down the hole into wonderland, she goes online instead!

Then it’s bye bye…

Yr1 | Ep6


The problem with the looking glass is that it is the looking glass, not the living glass!

A while back I was attending a social media event.
It was my first of this kind.
It was not my first event that I had attended, but this was a first for many reasons.

The day began well.
Meeting people, introductions, chat, excitment and some conversation at meeting people In Real Life away from the digital screens we use.

Then it began to happen.

A group I was with walked to a restuarant location near our hotels.
We all wanted to eat some food.
I expected more conversation, getting to know more about these professional people from various fields and careers.
I did, but not as I expected.


Out came every small screen in the possession of all those present.
Some had two screens.
No one was without.
I had an old iphone 3 and was on a limited plan.
Not yet birthed into the looking glass phenom’ a newbee as it were.


These people, googled what was being talked about.
Texted or tweeted what was being talked about.
Ocassionally looked up to drink, afirm, nod or laugh at something.
Before deepdiving back into their looking glass.
I was aghast, amazed, in awe of what I was seeing.


Our server came, used to this lack of eye contact.
Sorted out what people were going to eat and left.
Food arrived, people ate, and continued with the hunt for the white rabbit or the Queen of hearts.
No one was perturbed.
I sat in wonder.


Into the evening and the social gathering was organized around another venue.
Pictures being taken by a photographer were being tweeted, posted, shared, emailed, and who knows what else.
All live. Now.

And, the people in the room who were the participants in this event were the ones recieving these tweets posts and more…
It all was astonshing.

I spoke the next day at this event.
My 10 minute topic went trending in the city.
I was being monitored, tweeted, posted and lauded live.
I felt like I was in a surreal location of the world.

Nope, I was in the new world that was being replicated all around me.

That was four years ago nearly.
Things have changed and how.


No one can see around them.

Smartphone addiction, particularly among children, is altering the way we interact with one another. A member of the Kwon civic group in South Korea, Kim Nam-Hee, asked a classroom of 10 year old students compare the hours they spend on their smartphones with the time they spend interacting with relatives. She found a disturbing gap between the amount of digital and human interaction they were engaging in.


As the screen changes so does the attention span

People watch the news.
It is often not pleasant. It is often unsettling.
But, we have gotten used to clicking away to something more pleasing.
this isn’t normal.
There is no time to reflect upon the atrocities, horrors and wins.

Everything becomes abstract. Nothing to see here, move along.


Everything is being driven by the looking glass.

People are cherry picking the world in which they live in.

The reality distortion of field of a famous computer executive is here now for anyone and everyone.

The iPhone 5, as with many other technologies of today, invoke a variety of social problems, too. One of the main problems is the distraction from the real world. People can be so involved in what they’re doing on their phones that they can forget about what really matters and that is real life.

The backlash to digital screens is real

The host collects phones at the door of the dinner party. At a law firm, partners maintain a no-device policy at meetings. Each day, a fleet of vans assembles outside New York’s high schools, offering, for a small price, to store students’ contraband during the day. In situations where politeness and concentration are expected, backlash is mounting against our smartphones

The thing is so bad that murder can take place in front of people before they even notice anything. That is unsane!!
There are documented cases of people using their phones to record the near drowning of a person instead of helping them.
Nuts and all hail the looking glass.

Consider the case of a recent murder on a San Francisco train. On Sept. 23, in a crowded car, a man pulls a pistol from his jacket. In Vivian Ho’s words: “He raises the gun, pointing it across the aisle, before tucking it back against his side. He draws it out several more times, once using the hand holding the gun to wipe his nose. Dozens of passengers stand and sit just feet away — but none reacts. Their eyes, focused on smartphones and tablets, don’t lift until the gunman fires a bullet into the back of a San Francisco State student getting off the train.


But not everyone is smitten.

Recently I traveled to Europe and was struck by all the phones.
I saw couples sitting at tables each in their own world ignoring one other.
I saw a family with the children and no one was directly relating to one another.
Each of them tune into their own electronic device.

I had resistance to getting a cell phone. My friends still complain that I seldom answer it. I like it better that way.


Spring forward a few years from that day…

Inside a commercial factory where I manage a process people are gone.
Gone down the glass hole.
And, they aren’t coming back.


We have to keep them from their glass screens while they work.
Nearly impossible. Always fraught with issues.
Safety aside the proprietary information and practices of the business are under threat.


Lunch breaks are for wonderland.

What used to be a noisy, chat it up, back and forth social setting isn’t anyone.
Everyone is “eyes down, look in,” to steal a bingo phrase from days gone bye.
And they are not coming out of there until they are going back to their assigned tasks.


What is really going on?

People have a looking glass that lets them disappear.
The poetic observer himself said as much many years ago when he saw the trends in parenting.
Where they asked the children to lie to them.

The Age of lust has given birth
and both the parents ask.
The child to tell them fairytails from both sides of the glass.
-Leonard Cohen


Here it was truth and fantasy.
No one has to tell anything anymore because the tools to free them have enslaved them.
The digital drug of choice as it were is always with you.
In your pocket. Your new buddy. Your pass to the far side of the glass.


Now what about you and me.

Me I try not to reach for it unless the ding, buzz, bell, warning or attention getter is something I need to respond to.

A call or text from my wife who is facing cancer.
The important appointment reminder that is coming up.
A bill due, that I will forget to pay unless prompted.


I can do without a tweet reminder, facebook birthday, social ding dong snack of the hour.
So can you!

The question of the day is this.

How are you going to stay socially connected IN REAL LIFE instead of looking glass connected.
It is going to take an effort to keep the glass at bay.
From what I see around me, it is an effort that most people are not winning.


Photo by mikecogh