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What I have heard about the “latest outbreak of Pokémania” Pokémon Go? Was some prognosticator of the new game trying to convince the radio personality interviewing him that there was indeed a social component to people walking around with their cell phones held high, faces set on its screen and engaging a free app that has players imagining that they are interacting, in the here and now, with the creatures from Pokémon. It seems in certain cases people were meeting for the first time on the street over their shared ‘playing’ and that this first big augmented reality game actually has, as this gamer talking-head was trying to prove, some social aspect to it.
I guess it comes down to what your definition of being social is.
Yeah, I know, I am an old fart who is not changing for or even acknowledging these wonderful times we are living in. But Facebooking, Snapchatting, Instagramming, even texting is not my idea of being social…nor is chasing down animated characters suddenly popping across your phone’s screen while you are out and about in the real world. For me, being social is meeting folks face to face, looking them in their eye as you attempt to hold a conversation, sit across from the at dinner or even running your gaze up and down the body of a person you might be attracted to, as they either attempt to ignore, or invite your scrutiny. Hand holding, hugging and kissing hello, slapping someone on the back when you’ve shared a joke, leaning in close to take a friend’s hand when they are relating something that saddens them, this is human interaction with other humans and it is the stuff that makes us great.
It’s the same argument I have heard parents of teens try on me when I express disgust on how much the kids of today are on their phones, how they do not even actually call anyone even with those devices, and how you can be at a party where instead of the youngin’s talking and flirting with one another like a normal teen of eons ago used to, they sit side by side texting or Snapchatting with someone not at the party. The argument to my disgust is that kids today are indeed being more social, are more in contact, interact with each other more than we did back in the day. But I say within the method, lies the illness. As with getting out and about playing Pokémon Go?, nobody is talking, looking, enjoying the humanness of their fellow by being present right there, right then in front of their fellow enough to notice their fellow. It’s as if everybody has someplace they’d rather be, as if nobody can keep their mind on only one thing, as if walking through a nice summer day isn’t reason enough to be outside, instead people are chasing some ‘trainer’ character that doesn’t rightly exist.
But hey, people are being social, aren’t they?