Cyber Smile


It's a losing battle and I don't see it ending well.

The toll that social media is taking on our generation is deeper than we realize. Instead of living in the present moment we are constantly taking photos, posting updates, and checking the latest news on our feed. We all are guilty. Phones in the air at concerts, always making sure we snag that perfect photo with our friends, coffee photos, dog photos, selfies, keeping our Snapchat updated and our Instagram flawless. And for what? To get a photo that we can store on our phone, maybe post it online to show everyone how much fun we had and how happy we are? Are we looking to prove something or are we just searching for cyber validation that we really are "pretty cool"? Did it even really happen if we didn't somehow document it? More followers, more likes, more views. I know because I'm guilty of it too. Society has placed such a high value on having a strong online presence it becomes hard to fight it. Instead of approaching our neighbors when there is a problem, we vent about it online for the world to see. Instead of starting a face-to-face conversation with a stranger, we make sure we look busy on our phones. We all are blindly experiencing dependency and addiction to social media and cyberspace. Meanwhile our bodies are growing older and our hearts are still craving connections that you can't find online. We've forgotten a multitude of traits that make humanity, human. 

Missing a friend? Tag them in a memory on Facebook
Craving a new recipe? Pinterest has plenty to choose from
Needing a date? Send a cyber wink to that cute boy on Match
Wanting to convince people you're happy? Post a stunning selfie with a cute caption on Instagram
Looking to land a new job? Make sure your online presence is spotless
Needing directions? Just ask Siri
Feeling awkward in the waiting room? Download a game
Bored with your conversation at dinner? Check the latest news on Facebook
Worried about what your boyfriend is doing? Use an app to track him
Having troubles in your relationship? A new one is just one right swipe away
Wanting a good laugh? Go to YouTube
Have a problem with your neighbor? Post about it on the community page.
Needing more friends or "followers"? There's an app for that.

The internet has changed our lives, there's no doubt about it. For good and for bad. It has eliminated a lot of inconveniences and streamlined many processes. But when you begin to factor in the human aspect of things, that is where I see a huge problem. It has replaced honesty with lies, reality with fabricated, patience with laziness. It has taken real life laughter and turned it into an emoji. It has stolen the gift of a human voice and turned it into fingers on a keyboard. It has given cowards a screen to hide behind while they ridicule others from the safety of their home. It has taken away jobs. It has replaced the idea of fixing what is broken to finding something new. It fuels emotions of jealousy and dissatisfaction based on misleading information. It has created a crazy idea that a larger online following equals greater success. It has been proven to feed depression. It has changed the 'idea' of beauty. And it has completely killed the idea of living in the moment.

I believe there is a reason that photos can never do justice to the most beautiful things in life. Our bodies were meant to capture them. And I mean really capture them. See the never-ending skyline, smell the fresh air, taste the salty water, hear the roar of the waves, and feel the soft sand. There isn't an app for that. 

The life we know today, completely immersed in technology and accessible from anywhere with wifi, could be ripped away with a touch of a button. If systems go down, our lives will crumble.

If we lose connection to technology we cannot contact friends and family, swipe our credit cards, use our appliances, email co-workers, drive our cars, keep our homes warm, light up our streets. We have created a world so dependent on technology that without it, we cannot survive. We don't have a backup plan, just high hopes that something like that would never happen. Isn't that a little scary? Having all of our eggs in one basket?

To think of a society that doesn't completely depend on technology and cashflow is a refreshing thought. It makes me wonder if it ever could even be possible. After becoming such a selfish, narcissistic, impatient world, could it even be possible revert back to old ways? To hunting, gathering, trading, talking, helping, and by depending on one another – thriving? All while building humility, patience, kindness, perseverance, appreciation, and honesty. I just hope it will never come down to no longer being a matter of choice but instead a matter of survival.

So we leave our phones at home, turn off our ipads, and put our computers to sleep. Create real life connections. Stop being so dependent on a touch screen and pieces of plastic. 

Missing a friend? Go out for dinner and drinks.
Craving a new recipe? Grandma has plenty to choose from.
Needing a date? Suffer through a few seconds of awkwardness and just ask her.
Wanting to convince people you're happy? Who cares what they think, just live your life.
Looking to land a new job? Sharpen your skills the best you can.
Needing directions? Bust out that map or ask the friendly old man at the gas station.
Feeling awkward in the waiting room? Smile at a stranger.
Bored with your conversation at dinner? Make people around you feel appreciated.
Worried about what your boyfriend is doing? Approach him.
Having troubles in your relationship? Talk about it.
Wanting a good laugh? I'm sure you'll find things to laugh about with friends and family.
Needing more friends or "followers"? No. Doesn't matter.

Replace your cyber smile with real laughter.

Disclaimer: I realize that I'm utilizing the internet to make this point.

Kaleigh MuellerComment