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Inactive Reality #LETSEXPLORE

Tuesday 21 October 2014
Words Ailis Mara

Ever have that moment of realisation at a restaurant where you click that not only you, but everyone you’re with, is on their phone and you’ve been sitting in silence for the last five minutes?

Sadly, it’s a common occurrence between my friends. I’m not trying to act like an innocent party here and say it’s entirely their fault. I guess here’s me just hoping that we’re not the only ones who are occasionally more engrossed in our phones than what the other people around the table have to say.

What is so engrossing on our phones that we disengage with the actual, tangible, real world around us? Is it that we’re just so nosy we must find out what people we barely know are doing 24/7?

Those individuals who are excessively active online and inactive in reality are there to produce the content that feeds the social media animals. These ‘feeders’ include those Facebook “friends” that spend more time updating their multiple online accounts on a night out than actually enjoying their evening. If you’ve seen statuses like, “Kelly just got us all apple Sourz shots!!! So drunk ha ha ha” followed five minutes later by: “Oh my gosh, Kelly just did another shot!! She’s so crazy!!!” then you’ve got one of them in your friends list. Let’s be serious now… No one actually cares. Not a single one. Not even your Mother (massive kudos for anyone who clocks the Bridget Jones reference there). But seriously, who needs an up to date, minute-by-minute, itinerary of your evening? Spending more time telling Facebook about how much your enjoying your night does not equal to actually enjoying your night. Facebook is not your diary; although it may keep track of major life events the key word there is major. Facebook doesn’t need to keep note of every time you go for a “cheeky Nando’s”.

But I would argue the main culprits of this disengaged over sharing could be found at gigs. You’re stood behind that girl who is basically watching the band through her phone screen, who thinks you’ve spent twenty quid on a ticket to watch her recording the entire set waving her hands and smartphone in the air. The reason she’s recording the gig is because she’s missing the greatness by using all her concentration to zoom in on a guitar solo. Why waste experiencing the beauty that is live music to record said performance only to watch it back at a later date to see what you missed when you were actually there.

That isn’t to say we’re not all guilty of this. I’d be a massive liar if I refused to admit I’ve ever said the words “sorry say that again, I was just putting this picture of my coffee and cake onto Instagram”. The fact that no one is interested in it doesn’t stop me. And it doesn’t stop others either. We’re more bothered about what we share online than what is actually happening in reality. We are a generation of disinterested over-sharers and we don’t care who knows it.  We share, we observe and we judge, it’s just what we do. We spend most of our days doing this. We care more about what is happening on the world wide web than the wondrous wide world around us. And really, if we admitted it, that isn’t how it should be.

Words: Eliza Frost
Illustration: Patrick Savile