Monday, May 12, 2014


It's hard being alone sometimes.

We are, to varying shades, social animals. We crave connection, even if it's with just one person.

Even in these modern times, where we are rarely 'alone', we still find ourselves yearning for a deeper intimacy. Among friends. Among peers. Even among lovers.

And then, in your darkened room late at night, a tiny screen flickers on. It illuminates your face.

Concentrating. Seeking.

Who liked my status update?

You smile. You've reached people.

The screen flickers off. You roll over to sleep.

Yes, it is hard to deny the power of technology and social applications. Repurposed from a simple phone, the smart phone is now the window to a million small moments of connection.

It's heroin for the masses.

Is that an overstatement? I read of psychological developments like 'Phantom Vibration Syndrome', where a person feels vibration in their leg, despite their phone not actually ringing, and I think 'heroin' might actually be understatement.

And while I know that more screens equals more opportunities to tell visual stories, I am also overcome by the feeling that there has to be a limit somewhere. Modern connectedness can go too far.

Without an Alamo, I believe the unchecked growth in screen usage has the potential to affect human behaviour and development. To disrupt the natural flow of discourse and rapport.

This effect is quite bizarre to see in action. I've been at dinners, for example, where the majority of the invitees played with their phones, rather than interact with each other. It's akin to the Mackelmore lyric:

"Apps this good who's got time to make friends?"

If people start to become hardwired to connect with their screens and not other people, what interest will they have in screen stories, which are fundamentally about people? What good will multiple screens be for screen storytellers, when no-one has the inclination to watch stories over updating their Facebook status?

There has to be a line drawn. A boundary.

Be it the growing dinner party/social gathering rule that all phones are put into the centre of the table, or some other neological societal norm.

I can't tell you exactly where the final line should be, but it should be well short of this:

'The iPotty' -

I saw this advertised on television in America.

Children should not be using ipads while potty training. Learning to aim is more important at this stage of their life.

Yes, I want people to grow up and use multiple screens to engage with the screen stories we create.

But they have to learn to be people first.

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