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A call to re-think our obsession with social media

“Look Up” (see below) was posted by Gary Turk on April 25 2014. By today – May 6 – it has had over 15,250,000 views and 123, 000 likes. Why? Because it cleverly and beautifully resonates with a concern many of us have about way they social media can actually damage society. Our online presence has the potential to damage our capacity to have a significant offline one. This is not to say that Social Media is the devil, it can be a wonderful and beneficial boon of modern technology, it is just to say that it is not harmless or inert. Like everything in life the tool is not the problem it is the way the tool is used.

Proof of this is found in the way this message is being spread . Without the facility YouTube provides, and the connectedness that Facebook, Google+, etc., facilitate only Gary and his immediate family would know of it. As a way to stay informed and to create and maintain connectedness social media is unsurpassed. Even I, an occasional Facebook user, am delighted with the sense of reconnection I have found by ‘friending’ people who were once real, present friends, but who drifted away through time and distance.

To me it seems that the problem is that it is so easy to be lost in the social world and the excitement of the electronic buzz that people quickly mistake it for real relationships and don’t learn the skills and joy of genuine intimacy. Those are are only learned when your 5 senses interact with a person in three dimensions not their 2D image transmitted by electrons behind glass.

Gary Turk’s video tells the story by emotion. Shimmi Cohen’s video is also below, it tells the same story using science.

The message: Teach our children to spend the bulk of their time interacting with real people and the real world, and then to spend moments sharing the joy of that through a keyboard.