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Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Media, Society

Hello, I’m Here

Hello, I’m Here

We have become a society of people with bowed heads. Everywhere you turn, someone is staring intently at a small mobile device cupped in their hands – behind the wheel, on elevators, on city streets. It’s an epidemic that touches all ages. In restaurants, whole families indulge in this activity.  Last week, I was walking my big black dog in the woods down by the Rideau River. It was a hot day and he wanted to cool off in the water. I stood on the river bank waiting for him. I looked around. I listened to the wind and heard ducks busily fussing nearby. In the distance, I spotted a woman, earphones on, playing with her iphone. As she approached, she didn’t look up. Even as I scrambled up the river bank and my dog noisily shook himself off right behind her, she remained oblivious to our presence. Last night, I attended a wonderful jazz concert by a French bassist at the NAC’s Fourth Stage. I sat against the back wall, revelling in the sound, the space and the gentle flickering of candles on tables. All of a sudden, the young man sitting beside me pulled out his mobile device and stared at the illuminated screen. He repeated this action over and over again throughout the concert. Needless to say, it was totally annoying. Regrettably, I said nothing. To me, what these two little stories illustrate is how social media can affect our interactions with the world. As far as I’m concerned, the woman walking in the woods, totally oblivious to her surroundings, was putting her personal safety at risk. The man at the concert was also oblivious to his surroundings and to the fact that his incessant screen gazing was affecting others. Next time, I vow to speak up with a gentle tapping of the shoulder and a “Hello, I’m here.”

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