Picture this, four friends are sitting and talking, having a good time when Rakesh gets ‘whatsapped’. He reads and replies to it while the others taunt him and then continue the conversation. Although Rakesh joins back in the chat, his mind is still in the message.
A few minutes later Rakesh gets another message, he excuses himself and replies to it. As silence sets in, Tony and Ajeya find a few forwards to read. Everyone wants to show they are busy and involved in other things. Within ten minutes, everyone is on the phone and except for an occasional laughter or a sneeze, a deathly silence sets on the group.
What happened here?
A fun group died in the real world while a disjointed set of digital conversations started. The quest to ‘be wanted’ in the digital world, has taken over the connections in real life.
Let me explain.
Today more people are talking digitally than in real life. Yes, it is convenient, easy and inexpensive. But, it is also impersonal, bland and disconnected. I have over 600 hundred friends across the globe and I get to see what is happening in their life, I ‘feel’ connected to them. Your story may not be much different. And here lies the problem for you and me.
Human beings are emotional machines, they shift from one emotion to another, gradually. The phenomenon is called ‘Analog behaviour’. They cannot switch emotions on and off. They are not digital.
But they are getting into this habit due to constant messaging. In the name of staying connected, they disconnect from their immediate surroundings and find solace in the company of someone far away. Slowly, they lose the sense of even being connected.
Today, your popularity is measured by the number of messages you get and the likes your picture received. But no value is placed on the deep sense of satisfaction you get when you connect with someone at a human level.
To avoid getting hurt in the real world, we often use the digital. Rejections are less painful when you do not have to face the person who rejected you. It is less painful when nobody pays attention to your messages in a WhatsApp group chat than in a real-life conversation.
People yearn for a human connection, but do nothing to get started. It is hard to fight the inertia and the lethargy that has set in. Nobody wants to stand out in the crowd.
What should we do?
Break the lethargy and inertia.