Buttons of Disconnect

Approval. Agreement. Gratitude. An indication of interest…

There’s a wide spectrum of reasons to like, heart, or thumbs up posts and it feels next to mandatory to do so. Almost automatic. It’s a way to react to the world – to what others think and do. In fact, there’s so much to observe, approve, and disapprove, it’s often forgettable that apart from reacting, one can also act.

Since there are now buttons that can completely replace the composition of messages and even real-life interactions, it’s convenient for people to use shortcuts. A click is no doubt easier than reaching out to somebody and congratulating them for an accomplishment or an idea, but at the same time far from radiating authenticity.

We are silently replacing natural social behaviours with easy-to-press buttons, halting the many advantages of true interactions. Doing so does not strengthen relationships but makes both sides prone to indifference, slowly disconnecting us from one another.

Would a friend or an acquaintance truly realise our appreciation or support through a like? Or any other reaction button? What if we were to stop ‘reacting’ and instead became better in our acknowledgement of others by actually reaching out?

‘Hi Brian, I saw you got the job! Big congrats! I’m happy for you!’

It does take more time and effort to write, or better yet – make a phone call. But is that a reason enough not to keep relationships healthy? Or to make somebody feel recognised and cared about – more somebody than the moment before? It does take some energy, but it’s far more powerful than an awkward aim at a button.

Growing Up With Social Media

I was addicted. Sort of.

It does sound alarming when put this way – addicted.

In social media. The phenomenon that used to define my days, and simultaneously who I was.

Every day, I appeared clever, amusing. Every day, I simulated unforgettable moments captured in photos. It was as if I performed for an audience, expecting to be applauded with attention.

I wish I knew how delusional I was, especially in the brittle age of adolescence. A time when my attitude was fully influenced by my surrounding peers and the presence or lack of their immature approval. Instead, I was choking in the growing pile of insidious likes, aiding the departure of meaning.

As a teenager, and then in my early twenties, I had difficulties understanding that people had their own lives to care about, and the very details of mine were irrelevant at best. I failed to realise that holding me dependant and glued to a screen was somebody’s profession. To encourage me to consume and be consumed, by stimulating me to share a filtered life, painted on a feed.

We were handed these glowing screens and so focused we became. At the brightness of a piece of glass. A glow in the dark, potentially misleading and without question, intrusive and deceiving.

Back to Intentional

My whole life in front of everyone, and theirs in front of me. Waiting to be absorbed and then discarded for the cost of time never remembered, nor restored. A million likes later, irrelevance burns through intentionality, and I need to change…

If I change, I’m no longer going to feel like in a room full of people but a room where I let people in. Those I wish to share my day with, and those who feel joy sharing theirs back.

It will no longer be a forgery of a dreamy life, nor boasting about possessions. No more despair of trying to fit in…

No more random interruptions by unimportant noises. No more tolerance for attention theft. No more auto-piloting through sunny days and beautiful minds…

Yes to sharing a photo with a friend, not with everybody. Yes to reading an article specifically searched for, not a click-bait on a feed. Yes to getting entertained by a favourite show, not by what plays next.

Yes to intentionality.