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The “Selfie” Life

I have been fascinated watching people and mobile technology and the way our behaviours with the technology has changed.Until recently it was the sharing that seemed most important. People didn’t seem to feel like themselves unless they shared a thought or feeling, even before it was clear in their mind. (enter Shane Warne!)

These days we still want to share, but now our first focus is to have, to possess, a photograph of our experience. (enter Shane Kieth Warne! you have to see this link)

Folk it appears use selfies to keep a track of their lives.

What is strange to me is a selfie, like a photograph interrupts an experience to mark a moment. For example if you had 5 minutes with The Dalai Lama to get as deep and meaningful as you wished about the meaning of life… I would hazard a guess that 95% of folk would ruin the moment to get a selfie of the encounter.

Technology doesn’t just do things for us. It does things to us, changing not just what we do but who we are. The selfie makes us accustomed to putting ourselves and those around us “on pause” in order to document our lives. It is just the same as how we have learned to put our conversations on pause when we send and receive a text, an image, an email, a call. When you get used to a life of stops and starts, you get less and less in the moment reflecting on where you are and what you are thinking.

We are at the point where we are numb to interruptions and don’t see them as disruptions anymore. Even though they make it hard to settle into serious conversations with ourselves and with other people because emotionally, we keep ourselves available to be taken away from everything. When we text during a meeting, at the theater, at dinners with friends and yes at funerals or in bed with our partners and spouses (or in Warnies case BOTH!!)… all this has become the new normal.

These days, when people are alone, or feel a moment of boredom, they tend to reach for a device. At a stop sign, at the checkout line, whilst awaiting your takeaway, it seems like an eternity not to have your mobile operating when you are fueling a car; reaching for a device feels so natural that we start to forget the reason, a good reason, to sit still with our thoughts. It does honour to what we are thinking about. It does honour to ourselves.

It’s not too late to reclaim our composure. We just need to see the value in being in the moment.Some times it really doesn’t matter if you don’t know the right answer, stop googling put the question on the back burner and continue with the conversation, you might be surprised at how efficient your mind will be in remembering the detail.

Well it used to be… The selfie, like all technology is another opportunity for us to reflect on our human values. This is a good thing because it challenges us to figure out what they really are.


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