What happened to the days of knowing our neighbors by their first name? Or the days when we could confidently knock on their door to ask them for some sugar when we were out? Or when we would lean over the fence to catch up on life? Or when we simply engaged in social activities with those in the community?
It’s gone. Times have changed. We slowly sacrificed real-life community to our virtual communities. We started scouring the Internet just to “Google” the latest curiosity or trying to find things to do – yet it occupied the time we had to spend outside living life and socializing. We have become trapped on our Facebook newsfeeds paralyzing us in time (like driving past a bad accident) and wasted what we used to spend on the phone or in conversations with the people we know and like the best. Oh ya, and the dating game. What used to be a social experience and interaction…now relies on match making through a computer.
All of these have impacted the way we interact. And although we might believe we have become overly efficient through the platforms that connect us socially – we have sacrificed our ability to interact on a fundamental level.
Let’s be honest, the new generation has entered the much-predicted digital age, people's lives are literally lived surrounded by thousands of online friends while sitting alone in their room. It's easy to sound clever when you've had 4 hours to think up a new status update on Facebook or stolen someone else's line from Twitter for your own.
Everyone is used to keeping their head down, looking at their phones that they almost forget what a human face, in real life, looks like (let alone how to interact with one). The familiarity of Facebook's blue-and-white structure and Twitter's streaming columns are the new 'warm embrace' and people can't stand to stare at each other in person for too long before one wonders what the other is up to.
Eye contact is only to be avoided if you're confronted with a bear, a lion or a jaguar, not when you're meeting new people. A genuine inquiry into their lives might help create a bond further to the infamous "hi how's it going" icebreaker (which you sadly took all day thinking up).
Log out of Facebook. Turn off the twitter feed. And shut down the laptop. If you want to interact – meet up with a friend for a drink, a run, a real interaction. And if no one is around…I’m sure your neighbor (that you have yet to meet) is just waiting for you to come knock on his or her door!