Social media was formed with the intention to connect people, but has it really allowed us to connect better with others? Perhaps, social media has helped us to better communicate, but not to better connect. We hope to bring greater prevention awareness for Singaporeans to stop killing their relationships with their loved ones as a result of smart phones and social media.
Connecting with others is the formation of a bond with another human being. This bond is formed based on many factors and one of the most important is trust. Trust doesn’t come off the screen that you’re probably reading this article from, but from real human interactions. Trust is something human; it is a feeling which technology can’t quite convey yet.
There are many types of relationships that we build over the course of our lives. There have been many articles written on how smart phones and social media ruins relationships with our family members or close friends, but today I will attempt to explore some of our other relationships, some that we may often neglect to see the importance of.
Replacement Of Decent Conversations With Smart Phone Text
Firstly, ever since Whatsapp introduced us to free texts, proper face-to-face collaboration has been almost completely thrown down the drain. Firstly, Singaporeans love anything that is free. Free just means an excuse to use more of it. With anything free comes spam, made worse with the proliferation of Whatsapp group chats. I recall switching off my 3G and putting away my phone for a dinner appointment with a friend for about 3 hours and returning to a phone going berserk spewing out over 200 notifications upon switching on my 3G, most of which were from Whatsapp.
Being the introverted type, I used to love texts. To me, texts were the art of communicating without talking. Indeed, Whatsapp has given us a convenient way to communicate, but is it really the best way to connect with our colleagues and friends? To function like a well-oiled machine, we need more than communication. We need mutual trust that can only be forged through a rather primitive but more sincere way – face-to-face meetings. (And no, Skype does not count.)
We live in a society where sincerity means sending an SMS instead of a Whatsapp message, where importance is shown by calling someone instead of sending an SMS, where an emergency is signalled by calling for a meeting.
Indirectly, we have put a price on our relationships. The more we are willing to spend on them, the more important they are to us.
Connect Face To Face Rather Than Through A Screen
Secondly, for those of us who keep our eyes locked to our 7-inch tablets early in the morning on the train while trying to survive the mad peak-hour rush, we might want to take a step back and reconsider this. There we stand in the little space that we can find, reading the news off our gadgets, trying to understand and explore the very world around us.
Try raising your heads 7 inches up next time, instead of staring at a 7 inch screen, trying to comprehend everything around you.
Having a connection with a stranger on the train may seem unorthodox, but a smile from a stranger can give one a lot more joy than whatever is appearing on that screen, because it is human. It takes that one smile to start the day well. Although that sounds like something taken off a Singapore Kindness Movement campaign, it really works. Try it one day. I have, and I’ve been smiling at strangers ever since.
So next time you’re on the train or bus, try this simple 3-step exercise:
Raise head, Look around, Smile.
You’ll be surprised at the difference that smile can make.
Connection Is More Than Just Capturing A Moment In Time
Thirdly, one no longer needs to have a camera to be a photographer or videographer. Ever been to an event and during the Guest Of Honour’s speech, all you see are the raised phones of people trying to capture the moment?
As the photographer, it’s my job. For the audience, why put a 5-inch screen between yourself and the speaker? Perhaps one may be thinking that by video taping the speech, one can always go back and watch it over and over again. But is that really true? For one, the connection with the speaker is lost, and it is difficult to feel the emotions conveyed by the speaker through a moving image. We can go back and replay to hear what the speaker has said, but we can’t replay to understand what the speaker meant.
Maybe we might think that we will probably never interact with the speaker again, but it’s not so much about future interaction, instead getting to understand the speaker or even to feel as he or she feels. Just by being present, people connect. We may have walked into the room not knowing the person, but by the end of the event, we would have learnt something about the person.
Connections are not words or pixels, they are bonds.
So Start Today.
Start Connecting, instead of merely Communicating.
For there are relationships out there that need nurturing.
About The Guest Blogger
Justina is a Singaporean photography enthusiast and a writer for Five Stars and A Moon. She has been writing mostly about current affairs in Singapore, but hopes to broaden her scope and gain new perspectives through writing. More articles by her can be found here