Art museums, city landmarks and uncommon businesses, such as bike stores that specialize in their coffee brewing, all have one thing in congruence: The people observing them are glued to their phones.
In the 21st century, hyper-connectivity to social media is generally accepted among a crowd that has no proof of its actions unless shared across every network and application currently on the market.
The only fun and enjoyment that seems to be had is the temporary reward of likes, favorites, retweets and reblogs with an utter disregard for taking the moment to enjoy it for one’s self instead of the attention that could be had on the Internet.
When asked about a recent trip or adventure, the first response from this type of person may be, “It’s on Facebook” or “You didn’t see my Snapchat story?” Or a personal favorite, “Don’t you follow my blog?”
It is OK to turn your phone off and live in the moment. A story does not need photographs or 10-second bursts of video to make it great.
To share an experience, the only thing required is attention, not only from the listener, but from the urban adventurer himself.
Twenty-year-young adults of today may be writing their auto biographies with the help of social media archival services, but for now, description will be just as sufficient and engaging.
Not every piece of artwork in the museum needs to be compiled into a 300-second Snapchat story, but an attention span at least that length will be needed to view one of Monet’s masterpieces in order to describe it to your friend back home who lives for the genre of Impressionism.
Experiences cannot be swapped out for a digital counterpart. Just take photo albums for an example: When parents and grandparents comb through those ancient relics, a story lies behind each and every still image. The photo may be blurry and out of focus, but the worthwhile story is what matters most.
Now this does not mean to go back to Kodak disposable cameras, but instead be intentional with activities.
If you are going to take a tour of a historic city building or baseball stadium, then do it and soak up every bit of information along the way as if that night’s “Jeopardy” answers were dependent on it.
“Going dark” and leaving the phone in the pocket does not mean the moment will be lost in the void of space-time forever, but by inhibiting the first-hand experience for the frame of a smartphone screen, the joy of being present in the moment will be forfeited.