Looking down…

As a “Baby Boomer”, I fully comprehend that technology has taken our society by the throat.  What I don’t understand is how it has evolved to a state where the post-boomers, and even some of my own tribe, have fallen prey to “looking down”…

There is no doubt that all that “stuff” we now have at our disposal has improved information retrieval and enhanced communications, but to what extent, and what is the cost to humanity?

When I graduated from college, way back in the dark ages of the great communicator; President Ronald Reagan, we didn’t have the “advantage” of “smart” phones, email, and God forbid, texting.  Instead we were forced to speak to each other.  Can you imagine, making appointments and taking the time to visit a client, talking rather than typing to a prospect or friend?  We answered the phone at appropriate times then, as opposed to in the car, in the store, or anywhere you might get a signal.  How inconvenient and barbaric a world it must have been…

Today, we are “found” instantly and often use strange acronyms like “OMG” and “LOL” to express emotion.  Online “meetings” and national conference calls have become common place while actual “sit downs” are considered old school.  The lost art of listening has been replaced by “following” each other on Facebook and Twitter..

Yet I must agree, that all these new tech tools have enhanced business and personal communications from coast to coast.  But what has been lost in this never ending barrage of new gadgets and gizmo’s is the “high touch” that a human being needs.  How many times have you called to complain about your cell phone charges, or your cable service, only to be forced into a mind numbing impersonal series of recorded prompts to “press 1 for this or 2 for that”?

I believe that this “high tech” world we live in has diminished our ability to communicate, or “visit” as they say down South.  The proof is evident in our younger generation, as they excel at video games and computers, but lack interpersonal skills or respect for the history that got us here.  They may be adept at mastering their new iPhone, but cant hold an intelligent conversation, particularly when it comes to America.  Sound bites and media driven headlines dictate their comments, with little empirical evidence to back their biased opinions.

So the next time you’re out in public, observe those around you.  In a restaurant or bar, shopping or even when you’re stuck in traffic.  Notice the direction of their gaze, oblivious to the world around them, focused intently yet mindlessly…

Odds are they won’t even realize that you’re watching them.  Absorbed by a tiny device and frantically pressing little buttons with a sense of urgency.  It seems that with all this new technology, we as a civilization spend more time “looking down” into miniature screens, and have forgotten what life really means…