I saw this video yesterday for the very first time, though I’ve seen it around for a bit and have heard that it created quite a bit of buzz. Well, the viewing numbers on YouTube speak for themselves.
Then I went to read the comment section to find out what people said, especially after noticing all the dislikes the video received.
What struck me is how people seem to want to misunderstand the message the video is sending. Some comments were talking about how idiotic it would be to condemn the Internet and all the devices we use to connect with it, especially our smartphones.
Some asked why they should get married and have kids, who ruin their lives, when that is totally not what they want.
Neither of which was trying to be conveyed by this video.
The other day I went to dinner with my family. A group of girls was at the same restaurant and once they had ordered, every single one of the six girls brought out their iPhones and started scrolling through screens, browsing the Internet or checking the day’s photos.
We just shook our heads at each other and continued to chat about everything and nothing.
You sit with your friends, who you’ve taken the pains to travel with to a foreign country (they were Asian) and then you don’t talk about it, but instead tag each other in all the photos you’ve taken and like each other’s status?
Instead of connecting face to face, they connected online, even though they were sitting at the same table.
And this is what is pointed out in the video. The loss of human connection.
Yes, Facebook is great to keep in touch with your slew of friends, who live elsewhere. But do you really keep in contact with each of the four hundred people that are presumably your friends? How well do you have to know someone, before you accept a friendship request or send one out?
Do you even know, who you’re friends with, when you say yes to every random request and have no actual filter or security settings to protect you from complete random strangers? I allow friends of friends on Facebook, because those random people I have never pet send me requests and I don’t know why that would be.
If I don’t know you personally, I will ignore your request. And some of my social platforms are kept strictly separate.
The Internet is a great invention and no one in their right mind would condemn it. But lots of things happening online are awful as well and don’t feed community or growth or human connection.
Internet bullying has resulted in teen suicide. The seeming anonymity the Internet offers has brought out the worst in us.
You can be anyone, can say anything.
We need to disconnect from the online world every now and then to retain our humanity. We need to look up from our screens and engage with the person across from us to form a tangible connection instead of an imagined one.
The Internet, as everything, is what we have made it. All that is good and all that is bad about it. No one says technology is bad, but it, too, has its downsides.
And how you define happiness and what it means to you, is still up to you. Not everyone needs to get married or have children. Not everyone can identify with a cis-gendered, straight, white male. In fact, most people won’t identify personally with the maker of the video. But that’s not the point. It’s about identifying with a very simple idea and basic human desires such as companionship, which we will never find just online. We can make a start online, but that will never arrive at its true potential, if we don’t take it into our offline lives.
Do look up. Looking someone in the eye makes for a much more meaningful connection than liking their status on Facebook.