Modern technology drives us to be connected every minute of the day. Social media are a main vessel that people use to stay connected, and it seems as if we are all constantly refreshing our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds to learn the latest about the world around us.
We are constantly plugged in, even if we do our best to disconnect. If we do not see something online, it is almost guaranteed that a friend will email you a link or read an important tweet out loud.
The need to be connected all the time is directly related to the desire to post information first.
Breaking the news is the primary way to get page views and retweets. The prestige of being the first to break the news is difficult to achieve online with the massive flow of information that always comes in. This causes issues in journalism, where speed trumps accuracy of information. What is posted first can be deleted and corrected, and many news outlets take advantage of that opportunity. Many non-journalist avid social media users are part of this practice as well.
Because social media posts rely on brevity and speed, many posters have sacrificed the ability to be contemplative. The art of truly thinking things through before posting them, and therefore the art of saying something of substance that is well thought out, is quickly getting lost. Another thing that gets lost to social media is sleep. Is it really worth it to check the most recent tweet and realize 30 minutes later that our phones are still glued to our hands when we should be sleeping?
Disconnecting gives us the opportunity to be alone with our thoughts and engage in thoughtful, meaningful discussions devoid of distractions. Being contemplative about the world around us is more worthwhile than a 140-word statement.