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Time to live life in 3D?

By Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo   |   18 March 2017   |   3:50 am

Did you know that our attention span is shorter than a goldfish’s? According to 2015 study Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the effects of an increasingly digitalised lifestyle on the brain. Research surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds. This means, today, we have shorter attention span than goldfish – thanks to our constantly connected world.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a technophobe, but as a Gen Xer, the millennial dependency on smartphones and social media is unnerving for me. In a recent interview with Vogue, as I read about fashion influncer xxx talked of her dependency on her social media, I felt like I was reading about someone talking about substance abuse. For, how else would you define someone who is counting down the seconds till they can check her Instagram likes again?

Xxx is not alone either. A 2016 study by researcher Dscout found that we touch our smartphones 2,617 times a day on average with the heaviest users swiping and tapping away a whopping 5,427 times a day. Good on her that at least xxx has turned her addiction into a full-time gig that pays the bills.


What about the rest of us whose social media accounts don’t yet pay the bills but end up the be all and end all of our existence.

The girl that shares motivational quotes every other day but cannot begin to sort her life out?

The girl who Instgram stories the hell out of her dream life jetting from Dubai to the Swiss Alps with ‘bae’ but cannot upgrade herself from side chick to wife material?

The celebrities who posts pinched pictures of pooches, desserts or hotel rooms they have never laid eyes on?

The celebrities who share every living minute of their waking hours religiously, then decide one day they are out because no one really cares?

You can’t help but wonder how true a life these people live if every moment is carefully structured for the cold glare of a smartphone broadcasting every minute to the whole world. Why share motivation with the masses if you can’t practice what you preach? Why share every breathing moment with the world and walk off with a sulk because you have not been on your social media for two days and no one has bothered to stop living? Why share a pretend life with a microcosm of people, half of whom don’t even like or care for any of it, and the other half think your life is made of cerulean blue pools, lavender sunsets, hotel breakfasts in bed, designer handbags, and an endless stream of parties.


In finding connection with the masses who don’t know any better or simply couldn’t care less, we lose connection with the real world. Little blue thumbs up and little hearts do not make for real love, neither do followers equate to people who will stand by you when you fall. Reaching out for your smartphone as soon as you wake up in the morning instead of saying a little prayer doesn’t make for a grounding start, there is no Valencia filter in life to gloss over the imperfections.

If you have reached the level of a social media influencer and your hundreds of thousands of followers have made a profitable return in the form of fat cheques, then, by all means, carry on curating the life you know your followers would like to see on their feed to feed their aspirations.

If social media is not paying your bills, then for the love of God and all things that are holy, put down that darned phone and focus on real life. Step away, and know that not posting a picture in five days won’t bring on the apocalypse, your followers not realising you’ve been gone a while is not the end of the world, and most importantly, seeing the breath-taking sunset from your backyard could feel as rewarding as posting the breath-taking one from an infinity pool in Bali, and no filter can ever do justice to the taste of cookies’n’cream ice cream on your lips, getting soaked under the first downpour of the rainy season, seeing the smile of a loved one. Take a digital detox, and live your life in 3D, no phone, no filters, no fakery.




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