The effect social media is having on us
I was just sent this poem and I wanted to share it with you because it is pretty powerful about what social media is doing to us.
‘Look Up By Gary Turk’
I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely.
I speak to all of them every day, yet none of them really know me.
The problem I have sits in the space in-between.
Looking into their eyes or at a name on a screen.
I took a step back and opened my eyes.
I looked round and realized,
This media we call social is anything but when we open our computers and it’s our doors we shut.
All this technology we have it’s just an illusion.
Community, companionship, a sense of inclusion.
When you step away from this device of delusion.
You awaken to see a world of confusion.
A world where we’re slaves to the technology we mastered.
Where information gets sold by some rich, greedy bastard.
A world of self-interest, self-image, self-promotion.
Where we all share our best bits but leave out the emotion.
We’re at our most happy with an experience we share.
But is it the same if no one is there?
Be there for your friends and they’ll be there too.
But no one will be if a group message will do.
We edit and exaggerate, crave adulation.
We pretend not to notice the social isolation.
We put our words into order till our lives are glistening.
We don’t even know if anyone is listening.
Being alone isn’t the problem. Let me just emphasise.
If you read a book, paint a picture, or do some exercise.
You’re being productive and present, not reserved and reclused.
You’re being awake and attentive and putting your time to good use.
So when you’re in public and you start to feel alone.
Put your hands behind your head, step away from the phone.
You don’t need to stare at your menu or at your contact list.
Just talk to one another, learn to co-exist.
I can’t stand to hear the silence of a busy commuter train.
When no one wants to talk for the fear of looking insane.
We’re becoming unsocial, it no longer satisfies.
To engage with one another and look into someone’s eyes.
We’re surrounded by children who since they were born.
Have watched us living like robots and think it’s the norm.
It’s not very likely you’ll make world’s greatest Dad.
If you can’t entertain a child without using an iPad.
When I was a child I’d never be home.
I’d be out with my friends, on our bikes we’d roam.
I’d wear holes in my trainers and graze up my knees.
Or build our own clubhouse high up in the trees.
Now the park is so quiet it gives me a chill.
See no children outside and the swings hanging still.
There’s no skipping, no hopscotch, no church and no steeple.
We’re a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people.
So look up from your phone, shut down the display.
Take in your surroundings, make the most of today.
Just one real connection is all it can take.
To show you the difference that being there can make.
Be there in the moment as she gives you the look.
That you remember forever as when love overtook.
The time she first held your hand or first kissed your lips.
The time you first disagreed but still loved her to bits.
The time you don’t have to tell hundreds of what you’ve just done.
Because you want to share this moment with just this one.
The time you sell your computer so you can buy a ring.
For the girl of your dreams, who is now the real thing.
The time you want to start a family and the moment when you first hold your little girl and get to fall in love again.
The time she keeps you up at nights and all you want is rest.
And the time you wipe away the tears as your baby flees the nest.
The time your baby girl returns with a boy for you to hold.
And the time he calls you Grandad and makes you feel real old.
The time you take in all you’ve made when you’re giving life attention.
And how you’re real glad you didn’t waste it by looking down at some invention.
The time you hold your wife’s hand, sit down beside her bed.
You tell her that you love her, lay a kiss upon her head.
She then whispers to you quietly as her heart gives a final beat.
That she’s lucky she got stopped by that lost boy in the street.
But none of these times ever happened. You never had any of this.
When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss.
So look up from your phones, shut down those displays.
We have a finite existence, a set number of days.
Don’t waste your life getting caught in the net, because when the end comes, nothing’s worse than regret.
I am guilty too of being part of this machine, this digital world
we are heard but not seen where we type as we talk and read, as we chat,
where we spend hours together without making eye-contact.
So don’t give in to a life where you follow the hype.
Give people your love, don’t give them your “like.”
Disconnect from the need to be heard and defined.
Go out into the world, leave distractions behind.
Look up from your phone, shut down the display.
Stop watching this video, live life the real way.
To your success,