siren texting

By Amber Osborne, {grow} Contributing Columnist

This past weekend I was at a concert in Vegas for my birthday. It was a tour opener for the bands Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden, each iconic bands in their own rock genres. I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails a few times in the past; it’s always an unforgettable energetic show where the whole crowd becomes a connected entity to the pulsing, loud music and the visual experience on the stage.

This time something was drastically different — the crowd seemed disconnected. Countless people were sitting down with their heads down and faces illuminated by the glow of their cellphones.

Soundgarden’s lead singer Chris Cornell pleaded during the concert for people to “get out of their seats and off their phones.”

Our era of digital disrespect

He was making the point that even if the band isn’t the band or type of music you want to see, have some respect for the performers and the fans around you. This made me extremely sad and even a bit angry to see this happen during this concert, I’ve personally been waiting more than 10 years to see Soundgarden live and to see such a legendary band like this “digitally disrespected” had me thinking … have we become so connected to our online lives that we forget to live?

I’m connected. I understand the feeling. You get this itch to go to your phone like a security blanket for a child. It’s a comfortable feeling knowing the connection to the whole world is in your pocket. The feeling that you must capture and share every experience online.

I admit, I took a few photos at the concert and sent some tweets out about the concert, but I mostly waited till the intermission or after the show to send anything out. I knew better than to spend the entire time sitting down with my phone while these bands are playing their hearts out.

It gets down to this. It’s not about the technology. It’s about respect.

The irony of disconnected connection

This is the reason I cringe every time I see a couple out at dinner and both of them spend the entire time on their phones. Don’t even get me started on how many digital zombies almost ran into me (and our cars) on the streets of San Francisco and Vegas in the past week while they’ve got their face in their phones and headphones on. It seems we are more than ever connected to the world with smartphones but at the same time the disconnection to the real world around us has never felt greater.

While I was writing this article someone asked me, “I haven’t seen you tweet anything in two days or much from Vegas? Did everything go okay?” My response was, “Yep, I threw my phone off the balcony.”

Metaphorically of course.

I was just busy traveling and enjoying my vacation but I realized something on this trip — What we post, and the life we live online is not ours; it’s for others. I was having an amazing time living my life offline, but to the online world; I was virtually dead for two days.

Don’t type your life away for the benefit of others … Live first. Post later.

Are you with me?

Amber Osborneamber osbourne a.k.a @MissDestructo is the CMO at Meshfire, a social media management platform out of Seattle, WA. She’s worked previously in online marketing with clients ranging from bands to brands. Check out her adventures at MissDestructo.com.

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Mike Licht.

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