On my way to work this week one morning, I started thinking about the different ways of communication between people in this day and age. Have you noticed how engulfed we are with our digital space? We're so consumed that it takes away the opportunity to truly enjoy and be present in the real world. It led me to realize how disconnected we are in this hyper-connected world. And it actually reminded me of a quote from the movie, Hitch:
"60% of all human communication is non-verbal body language; 30% is your tone...so that means 90% of what you're saying ain't coming out of your mouth."
So disregarding the accuracy of those statistics, the idea still holds true for all human interactions. The truth is that what we want to convey isn't in the words we speak. It is in how we say it and the body language that we emit. So how can we truly and genuinely express ourselves if so much of our interactions today are digital? Is there a limit to how deep relationships can run if it is built on the foundation of technology as opposed to face-to-face dialogue? The irony is that the opportunity to be connected all the time actually takes away from our ability to form authentic relationships with the people we meet.
Not only is the balance of our interactions becoming more digital and less real world, but the significance of each moment has decreased in value as well. Let's reminisce a little! When I was much younger, if you wanted to talk to someone you couldn't see, you had to make a phone call from a home phone. It's a commitment really -- you couldn't have been on-to-go, you had to use a home phone, and the person also had to be home. Sometimes you even had to go through a parent before you could get the person on the other line. We never realized this back then but: you had to have wanted to put in effort in order to have a conversation with someone. In a sense, the conversations we used to have signified investment, and nowadays a lot of ours is just a way to pass time for the in-between moments of the day.
Back then, there was also no such thing as "real-time." The concept barely existed. Today it seems like everyone wants real-time: brands are all about creating real-time content, publishers want to be the first to deliver news as they happen, and we have all the tools necessary to keep us as closely connected as possible. So while being connected allows us to have many more interactions, each one seemingly holds less weight and significance.
But hey, in no means am I rebutting the obvious advantages of digital and being connected where ever we go...I work in digital advertising after all. It is however interesting to think about how I can start to be more in sync with my real world, and to try harder in my relationships with people. This means making a conscious decision to not pull out my phone on the subway rides home, and to make time for more meaningful conversations (through whatever means of communication) with the people who matter.