Talk about trends... Swipe swipe, click, post, click, type type type, swipe, click, swipe moving at the speed of light...
Last night I went to go see one of my favorite bands perform. My husband and I settled in once arriving in the venue and chatted while we waited for the opener, we had gotten there way early to ensure great seats, we got them!
To my right was a small group of women in their 20's. Giggling, smiling and chatting away, I thought, so sweet, girls night out! Three songs into the opener and I noticed none of them were watching the stage, all I could see was 4 brightly glowing screens out of the corner of my eye. Taking turns showing their screen where instagram meme's or funny pics appeared, they would scroll, stop, show the others, giggle, scroll, stop, show, laugh; meme’s like “I’m as emotionally stable as an Ikea table” are the types that got the most laughs. This went on for the entire set of the opener. I thought maybe it was just that group of girls, I started to look around and to my right another girl, being held in the arms of her man, looking down at her phone flipping through instagram while being serenaded by the most beautiful acoustic love songs. My heart hurt. As the main event took stage, I thought for sure they would put their phones away and focus on the LIVE experiences. Nope. It got worse. The focus became the sharing of the show, take a photo, snapchat, click, video, insta, click, image, facebook. She put her phone away, ope, it’s out again, back to check how many "likes".
I might sound psycho, being able to account this so explicitly but the women was elbow to elbow with me and my peripheral vision gave me insights without even trying. Here we all were, hundreds of us, gathered to see this incredible band, and she is completely fixated on her mobile screen sharing picture and video after video with her virtual network. I felt sick, as much as I was loving the performance, I could not help but be distracted by her behavior. After we left, I got in the car and said to my husband, do you think that’s normal for her? Do you think that is an indicator of how a lot of 20 somethings are behaving? I went down the rabbit hole of "what’s the future going to be like if this keeps up"? Will people have the ability to be happy with an experience, without documenting the whole play by play? Is everything better or more exciting when shared? what is UP with the social behavior around this sharing phenomenon? I totally get a few pics, but the play by play across multiple platforms for four hours straight?
The underlying thought I have this morning is this: If this is in fact a trend, what does it look like ten years from now?
I am not by any means undermining social media or the nature of how powerful our new social tools are, what I am wanting to highlight is the dramatic power of this repetitive, twitch-like sharing that takes people away from their present circumstance. Will people be capable of a face to face conversation without interrupting for a pic or post? What does this look like long term?
The pendulum swing has already begun, I have recently noticed a rising number of people taking social “breaks,” deleting apps from their phones and increasing their in-person time with people. The whole topic causes me to wonder, will we have “mobile breaks” built into our future? Is the way people are sharing out of hand?
What do you think? Are people missing the forest for the trees when sharing in such a frenzied fashion? Or is this type of behavior the new normal?
Lindsey Rainwater is a consultant and coach to the fitness and wellness industry. She specializes in business development and leadership. Currently she is working with the Fitmarc Team helping Health Club owners all over the south central region of the united states propel their business forward via group exercise solutions. For more information about Lindsey, follow her @lindseyrainh2o