The expansion of the internet and computing as well as mobile technologies over the last two decades has allowed society to become ever more connected. I still remember when everyone first started using email and how I’d wait in anticipation for the time of day I could run down to the computer lab and how exciting it was to see that there were new messages in my inbox.
As social media sites such as friendster and myspace came about, ultimately leading to Facebook and a host of other social media sites, it was thrilling to all of a sudden be able to see profiles and connect with anyone, literally, around the world who had access to the internet and was a part of a social media network.
As this technology progressed even further to mobile phones and smart phone, it became even more exciting, especially with the thousands of apps out there to take advantage of all the new smartphone technology.
Over time, as technology becomes a more integrated part of our daily lives, we engage in a new type of consumption, namely, consumption of information. We have an almost insatiable hunger to read the latest news, find out what our friends are up to, learn about new products or places. It would take lifetimes to be able to consume all this information, and it would still be impossible to process it all.
Humans are social creatures, and this inherent desire to connect, coupled with amazing tools to connect in more substantial ways begs the question, “Who are we being for other people?” For as much content and information that we consume, how much of it is really adding positively to the lives of others? Is society starting to move in a direction where noise and popularity are perceived as true value?
John F. Kennedy challenged the nation when he stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!” From his rally cry emerged some of the greatest advancements in science and innovation in human history, advancements that propelled the human race forward in a solid and lasting way. As the human race stands here today on the solid foundation set by the leaders and trailblazers before us, who are we being for society and what are we doing to pay it forward?
It’s funny to see the “first world problems” meme on the internet, the one where the lady looks so distressed, upset and frustrated with a caption that states a first world problem that is so trivial, yet it seems like the most earth shattering problem that has ever existed. Here is one of my favorites:
We have to ask ourselves, what are we doing with our lives? Who are we being for others? Are we truly opening ourselves up to the possibility of greater things for ourselves, the people we love and society as a whole? There are so many options for give ourselves momentary pleasure, such as food, watching a movie, and going shopping. As amazing as technology is and as convenient as it has made life for us, we must asks ourselves if there is a better way to spend our time and utilize the technology we have available to us to add value to the world.
The reality is that not every single person is going to be the next Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, or Steve Jobs. Yet, every single one of us can do something small to brighten someone’s day. Every person can make an effort to at least be considerate and leave someplace better than they found it. Finally every person can explore the difference between simply looking good versus actually being good.