Have you seen this video yet? It showed up a couple of times on my Facebook feed today and it struck a chord with me – it made me wonder how much time I spend sitting in front of a screen everyday instead or interacting with real people. The answer is easy – too much (and no, the irony of learning about this video via Facebook does not escape me).
On Sunday I was up WAY too early, so I did something I haven’t done in ages – I went for a walk. Not just a small walk – I was out for hours. Yes I took my phone, and yes I took pictures of the interesting things I saw as I went and shared them via social media, but here’s the thing – the only reason I was able to see different/interesting/beautiful things was I was looking up – I didn’t have my head down as I madly tweeted about whatever random thing that just popped into my head. And I liked it.
I did a sort of meandering loop from my place, and in all I probably walked about 10km. In that time I saw some things I likely wouldn’t have seen in my everyday life, and I know I never would have seen if I’d been looking down. What I did find really interesting however is that when I tried to make eye contact with some of the people I passed and say ‘hi’ more often than not I was ignored or given a strange look.
Are we so used to communicating electronically that simple face to face interaction between strangers is completely foreign? We think nothing of interacting with complete strangers over social media – is doing the same thing in person really all that different?
Maybe it’s a Toronto thing? My mom says that she finds a huge difference when she comes to visit – but she lives in a town that’s significantly smaller. Is it the pace of life in the ‘Big City’ that makes us all slaves to technology?
No matter the reason I’m going to set myself a bit of a 30 day social challenge (if you’re on social media of any sort these days you’ll know that 30 (or 100) day challenges are all the rage – there’s the 30×30 nature challenge or the 100 Happy Days challenge, and any number of fitness and diet related challenges, so really I’m just following the trend). Anyways, starting tomorrow (May 6) I’m going to look up and try to say ‘Hello’ or ‘good morning’ or something similar to at least one stranger a day, and maybe, if I’m very lucky, they’ll also be looking up and will say hello back.
By the way - here are some of the interesting things I spotted on my walk while I was looking up: