I looked at the Gen Y and Zs and it was like they missed the joke. Their faces were stoic, almost hollow. There wasn’t even a remote sense of amusement from what the boomers laughed at. Not a twinkle in their eye, not an upturn in the corners of their mouths. Nothing.
What was going on?
About three seconds later I made an interesting correlation. The unamused were holding iPhones. They weren’t “on” them, or looking at them at the time, but there was something about THAT I wanted to think about more.
I have two brewing theories.
People with smart phones have a harder time being present. Even if we (I’ll put myself here because I have an iPhone.) aren’t on our phone, we have about 8 apps running in our conscious mind at any time…
Social media – I wonder how many likes that post is up to? Did anyone else comment on that article I posted? How many people double clicked my photo from this morning?
FitBit – I wonder how many steps I’ve taken today? What is my resting heart rate at now that I’ve been sitting down for 25 minutes? Did I eat too many calories for lunch?
Notes – maybe I should be taking notes on this so I don’t forget.
TeuxDeux – I forgot to call the cable company. I better make a note of that before it slips my mind again.
If we’re not using apps, we’re thinking about using apps. We have so many “apps” running in our mind that we’re half in the moment and half in the web at all times. It’s sad.
My next brewing theory is that the invention of social media, memes, and the prevalence of videos have dulled our enjoyment of real human interaction.
The YouTube video I saw this morning is much funnier than that guy’s random quip about life. Times that by 100 YouTube videos and someone has to be a professional comedian to get half a smile from us now. That lady thinks she’s so funny, but it’s nowhere near as funny as the meme I saw this morning that said XYZ. I could occupy a blog with a list of this stuff, but you get the point.
People aren’t enjoyable to us anymore. Entertainment is enjoyable.
That poor boomer who cracked the joke earlier in the post had nothing on the meme or the youtube video the Gen Y or Zs already saw that day.
There are still hearty laughing boomers and many Gen Xers and Yers who appreciate humans and how they relate and express themselves, but we’re losing it folks.
Fast forward this cultural shift and we have a nation that doesn’t value or understand human interaction.
If you’re part of the Y or Z crowd and you’re into memes and videos, remember to put the phone away, listen to people in person and find them intriguing and amusing. Learn to enjoy humanity. Somehow. Figure out what that means for you. But seriously, figure it out.
The irony is that by being SO connected in our world now, we’re more disconnected than ever. I’m not the first one to say this, but if you haven’t actually let that sink in until now, this post has been worth it.
Here’s to the changes we need to make! xoxo