Yes – it seems a bit hypocritical to publish an article about “Real Life” via a website – but that is necessary for 2018. This is our “hook” into the world as we know it. If it can engage people mentally – than it’s a win! Our purpose here today is to talk about the digital world – and our real, organic world. And what to do about it all.

Comparing “online” life versus REAL LIFE?

For clarity purposes, know that we spend almost zero time on social media (other than a few minutes a week for this business endeavor – none personally). We do, however, “use” the internet for a whole lot. And mostly via “old-fashioned” websites.

When we go out, we hardly ever even look at our phones. Only bring them just in case (or to get harassed by our S.O.)

I spend my time absorbing and contemplating my surroundings. And that includes observing everyone everywhere.

Most folks are heads down most of the time. I wish I could describe exactly how I feel without getting into a long-winded essay. But it’s as if some alien came down and infected the majority of people with some kind of pathogen. It has radically changed humanity in just two decades. If someone was in a coma in 1998, and just woke up today – they’d be blown away at how much society has dramatically changed in just their physical demeanor. “What is everyone looking at?”

Getting “answers” online

Another aspect that has dramatically changed now that online “help” (in quotes on purpose) is available – is how reliant most people have become “Googling” something.

Again, with pros and cons. In certain instances – it can truly be a big help. YouTube is the most watched outlet in the world. I think more than the rest of all other video platforms combined (TV, cable, NetFlix, etc.) So many “helpers” out there. Some can be amazing, I will admit that.

But there are also millions of them. Sometimes the wretched ones become popular, while the really good ones just remain hidden gems because they’re not good at navigating the YouTube popularity algorithm. It’s a lot of work to “rise to the top” in that medium. It’s a dizzying nightmare at times – and overwhelming and time-wasting at others.

Much rarer today – is simply asking others for help. Or just trying to figure things out on your own. We’ll post a piece about doing things the old-fashioned way (or the hard way) in the future.

Also – we’ve found that the so-called “answers” for many inquiries online have become subverted and corrupted. Something ain’t right – is the saying.

Not engaging with others

Yesterday’s post about the Flemington Department Store kind of relates to this. Buying things online may save a few pennies here or there (or make you spend more because it’s so easy?), but missing from that balance sheet is the human being factor. Not just speaking on the phone either. Face to face, and in the flesh. You see, saving money comes with a hidden cost – human interaction.

The truly social scene is getting sucked into a digital world way to fast. I can tell by how many people I meet, who are visibly uncomfortable with human contact. Mind-blowing.

No discourse

Another aspect of the digital world is that it has hastened the thinking process. Everything now. No time for deep thought, or calm discussions that take place over time.

Everyone is so busy clicking, swiping, and pecking – that contemplation and slow decision making is almost unheard of.

Observe many online “discussions” and you’ll see that “long form” collections of thoughts, ideas, and rebuttals are rare. Most are akin to five-second sound bites.

Along with the lack of a healthy discourse is the fact that a rapid polarization of many ideas is happening before our very eyes. Politics and social trends in particular. This could be very dangerous uncharted territory we’re headed into if level-heads do not prevail going forward.

Lack of personability – and more echo chambers

Words and ideas are just a few of the characteristics that make us human. Our ability to physically respect each one of our differences and exist with each other is equally important.

Technology has rapidly divided us all up into miniature groups. And those groups are often referred to as echo chambers because they’re highly specialized, single-faceted groups. Dissenters or those that question the group’s original intention are ousted in quick fashion.

Isn’t it ironic, for instance, that those preaching the loudest for “tolerance” – are the most intolerant towards anyone that might want to challenge their ideas?

A good story – is one told in person

One side benefit for not being as “connected” as most people are, is that when you do most of your interaction in person – you maintain your ability to tell a good story.

Not with (your best) photos, but using descriptive words and body language.

Staying up to date with your “friends” via technology kind of takes that away. Like everyone is competing for attention far away from each other. And over time that desensitizes most folks. As well as shortens the memory span. Here this minute, gone the next. Who knows what the long-term implications will be.

Getting with the time? Or a healthy mix?

Finally – this was not an article to lambast technology. Just a collection of thoughts and observations.

Like they say “get with the program or get left behind” (or something like that). We understand that – especially for most businesses – you need to have an online presence. You have almost no choice. Much of the world will never know you exist unless you “get out there” and make yourself known. And engage with others.

Some places – if they’re good enough – may make it, but it takes a lot longer these days via word of mouth.

But when it comes to social media for individuals, that is a tough call to make. And one you should make on your own.

We do not believe it adds value to our lives. In fact, we think it’s detrimental to get sucked into it. I’ve seen how it (social media) has profoundly changed people. Just like that alien infection I referred to earlier in this article. Sort of like “losing” a loved one to Alzheimer’s. They’re just not what they used to be.

And for people like us, it then becomes challenging to interact with others as well. Facebook groups are one example. So many people have them and use them to interact. How do people like us stay included if we choose not to engage in those (privacy-robbing) platforms? Pretty simple. We don’t.

For our personal lives, we stick with email, phone, and in-person. And if we get “left out” of something as a result – we accept those outcomes.

At least we can vent “professionally” via our free online publication NJroute22.com.

Enjoy your day, and we hope you enjoyed our digital philosophy essay!

About the author

NJroute22

NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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