In person interactions build greater connections

In Opinion
Photo illustration of people standing next to each other while looking at their phones.
Filler image for now

“Let’s connect.” This request may have more than one meaning for some people. Now more than ever, there are countless ways to “connect” with other people. However, there is no better way to connect with people than in person.

Look around: when someone is walking to class, at the bus stop, or at the dinner table what you’re likely to see are faces plugged into a screen thumbing through miles of an Instagram feed, the swift swipe and type on Snapchat, or one end of a really engaging conversation being live broadcasted to all the other people sitting in Starbucks.

The overuse of screen time could be attributed to generational habits. In 2017, adults spent up to about six hours of screen time daily. Compared to 2008, adults were spending half of that time on their screens and averaging nearly three hours a day, according to the Kleiner Perkins Internet Trend Report 2018.

The first iPhone was released in 2007, and by 2008, there were nearly 5,000 apps in the Apple App Store. Now, there are about 2 million gaming and productivity apps, according to Statista, a statistical analysis company. That number is expected to be more than double within the next year.

The fluidity and intuitive interface of mobile devices have become extremely user-friendly, and it’s a direct invite to spend hours with our tiny screen day in, day out. From Candy Crush to e-commerce, there is a whole world cradled in our hands to escape into.

The technology that some would argue has made us more connected, may be doing the exact opposite. With the digital landscape at our fingertips, our phones are starting to become our stream of consciousness. If a random thought comes to our minds, technology allows for instant gratification by searching or indulging in our quick blips of curiosity.

Everyone has their own distinct interests due to the abundance of information and content online. These niches of specialized interests allow for diversity, but as our interests become more specialized and refined, our ability to connect and relate becomes less obtainable.

Technology makes us think only about the things we are interested in and causes us to only seek out and speak solely to people who have common interests.

There are nearly 40,000 people here on campus, which leaves a lot of room for all of us to find someone to connect with. Regardless of political alignment, orientation, gender or nonbinary status, there is something to learn from every person we pass by..

This is not a decree to ditch technology; this is simply a reminder that there is no other place in the world like the present.

Yes, technology has given us some powerful tools to navigate through our everyday lives, but let’s not ignore the people that pass us by every day, the people we sit next to in class, or the professors that give out grades at the end of the semester.

Don’t miss out on a small conversation in a cramped elevator, in the line to get coffee, or even with family at the dinner table, as these are all small moments of human interaction that could bring a hint of joy to your day.

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