is it really all in the numbers?

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There seems a relatively new phenomena in our media to describe things through the medium of numbers. Newspaper articles are written around small colour panels, gleefully pronouncing ‘In numbers…’; these are summaries to draw in those who seemingly cannot be bothered to read and understand the depth of the article. It’s as if by providing a statistic, plucked from the vast expanse of a complicated subject, we can understand. Examples in the newspaper today include…

422 million people have diabetes;
1 in 5 people say social media makes them depressed;
124 refugees were taken to Turkey from Lesbos yesterday;

It mirrors the growth in need to know small snippets of many people’s lives in social media – glimpses on Facebook, 144 characters on Twitter. We are time poor, so we’re told, and so we need to pack a lot in. Scan rather then delve. Skim rather than comprehend.

The world seems to have developed into a place of ‘know a little, about a lot’.

This crosses over into what we know about ourselves.  Small amounts of knowledge used as labels to describe extraordinarily complex unique human beings. “I’m a completer finisher”, “my type is INTP”,  “I’m a big picture person”…

Let’s start reading the entire article.  Let’s start taking a deep dive into who we are.  Let’s be curious about other people and their glorious uniqueness…

You are not just a number.

 

bubbly evolution?

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There’s a new phenomenon in our world.

The smartphone bubble. It’s a personal space where we get lost. Lost in our own system of connection.

Walking along the streets you can see these people lost in their private bubble.

There are several subtly different forms. The ‘blind communicator’. Here the smartphone ‘bubblist’ meanders in their texting posture, head bent, eyes down, thumbs dancing over the screen. They are oblivious to anyone around them. To the human being walkers dodging them on the pavement, the human being drivers avoiding them as they step into the road in their zombie like torpor – they are communicating through text, and the person 200 miles away matters more than you, stepping aside for their benefit right here, right now.

Then there is the ‘desperate not to miss outer’. These individuals are addicted to their social media stream of ‘news’. These are often one handed bubblists. They use their dominant thumb in an upward or downward stroking motion, browsing their newsfeed; a constantly rolling list of images, messages, videos and news items that, until that moment, they were completely unaware of. But now, this stream of news prevents them from glancing upwards at the real human beings dodging these ‘mustn’t miss out bubblists’ meandering along the streets, through the shops and bumping and bouncing their way through busy thoroughfares.

Then there is the ‘you all need to knowster’. This form of bubblist often has their eyes open and can see the human beings coming. However they insist on sharing their telephone conversation with everyone on the bus, the train, in the restaurant or simply passing in the street. They are hands free. Their conversation deserves to be shared with us all. That’s how important they are. How ‘need to know’the topic is. Meanwhile non-bubblist human beings have to accept that their thinking, reading, private moments are to be disturbed by the ‘need to knowster’s need to share.

Whatever happened to simple respect for another human being?

Come on bubblists, look up, smile, speak, step aside. Open a door for, say hello to… a fellow human being. You once were one.

 

now is the only everlasting memory

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Many years ago, the photograph was a physical thing.

Nowadays we live in a digital age. The image has become a series of ones and zeros, which can be shared instantly across the globe. It can be enlarged, edited, colours saturated, edges blurred. It can be enhanced with special effects, have its background changed, detail enhanced. All of this can be achieved in seconds. Methods and means for sharing are many, and once a photograph is out in the social network we lose track of its global journey; who might see it, where, how and when.

When we capture a smile in a photograph, it has an eternal quality. A moment in time is captured in digital form to be shared and enjoyed for ever. It becomes an everlasting smile. Or does it?

The photograph cannot replicate the human experience. The feeling that went with the smile. The sensation of the facial muscles drawing the lips back. The image or experience behind the camera that generated the smile. The joy of the moment. The supporting emotions of fun, love, togetherness, excitement, happiness. It cannot hold within it the sharing. The memories.

Today we have become obsessed by taking the picture. We snap them constantly. Delete the duplicates. Discard the imperfect. Edit them to impress.

Maybe we have forgotten to enjoy the moment? To take in the experience? To absorb the emotion and allow the feeling to wash over us like a wave of liquid happiness? To live the experience and therefore to enrich the memory? Maybe the smile in the moment is the only truly everlasting smile? The one in the now?

Let’s focus on the moment, not on the creation of the ones and zeros.