The irony of the infamous “Look Up” and “I Forgot My Phone” videos is that they have 60 and 51 million views respectively. Simply put, people are actually burying themselves in their devices to review parody videos about burying heads in devices.
The study by Sparks & Honey, “Generation Z 2025,” states that the emerging generation gets their first device between the ages of 4 and 7 and 91% of teens go to bed with their devices. Connectivity is woven into the fabric of our lives and putting the device down is a conscious decision rather than a habit that can be groomed. Therefore, the conclusion is that there can be no “off” when there is no “on”.
We are losing a sense of ourselves and maybe, worse, not allowing ourselves to develop senses. This is the way it is now and a collective bashfulness is being cultivated every moment. It is also worth mentioning that we have scary things happening in the world that should actually promote the idea of “looking up.”
The reality is that the videos referenced above or any diatribe by the likes of me is not going to change the tide. Digital connectivity is part of us now and certainly allows us to touch more people than ever before. But, maybe – just maybe – there is a bit of an awakening occurring. Maybe people are realizing that the desire to make a conscious effort to observe their surroundings, engage in real life conversations, and connect empathetically are actual needs.
Sometimes, when our writers are a bit blocked, they simply decide to look up and observe. Other times, they go talk to people – and I mean really talk to people. No e-mail or text. Actual real conversation with real questions and a sense of wonder.
We need to start making the conscious choice to be present. Being constantly connected is creating stress because we are being held accountable to something that is not in our presence. I see it in kids today if their “friends” don’t respond immediately; panic sets in.
Publishing is a cathartic process and allows just that. It allows you to pick your head up and explore. In turn, when you ask questions with genuine curiosity you start to escape your own boxed-in world and find a better version of yourself and your brand.
Dr. Suzanne Lachmann, Psy.D., a New York State licensed clinical psychologist, states “It’s hard to appreciate where you are when you’re perpetually distracted by where you’re not.” In other words, it is time to be present in our lives. Go ask real questions of real people and start being where you are.