Communication in 2017

Communication in 2017 – getting worse?

Just wanted to add an update to this. We mentioned earlier this spring (see the bottom of this post), how Hoboken and other larger “urban centers” do, in fact, have people using the so-called slivers of land called “parks.” That is mainly because of the density.

And location. Waterfronts with “views” of buildings across a large body of water tend to attract visitors as well. Nowadays, purely for the sake of selfies, but I digress.

One thing that has continued as we travel very often around the tri-state area is – that INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL parks around are vastly UNUSED. Like ghost lands.

We’ve stopped by dozens of parks around New Jersey and other states over the past three months alone – to find them essentially 100% unoccupied. Any day of the week. Even on the most spectacular weather days of the season. Even on weekends!

Empty. Good for us. But odd, from a societal perspective.

The most important question anyone can ask is: “Where is everyone? And what exactly are they doing?”

We know what the answer is. And it’s not good.

gorgeous parks empty on perfect weekend days - Communication in 2017

What’s up with Communication in 2017?


I say communication, but I mean “communication,” (in quotes for a reason).

And that reason is – is it really communication anymore? Or is it something else?

Narcissism – ME ME ME!

narcissistic communication 2017 - Communication in 2017Recently – we traveled far away from Hoboken to do some family stuff. And during that trip – we stopped by a very popular “healthy” chain eatery.

There was a huge line of people ahead of us. A fairly big mix, but most of them were millennial kids of high school age. Must have been some golden hour for after-school sports activity.

Some of our observations:

  • Lacrosse is big across the country now. No idea why. Such a dumb sport. But many of these late teenage boys were chatting about all sorts of stuff. In retrospect, it seemed normal. But the mannerisms were fascinating to me. Everyone seemed “even-keeled.” As in, the acceptance of others was rather pedestrian. No obvious pecking order. Or dominance. Additionally, every kid was able to text message or update timelines with ridiculous efficiency. All while having an (pseudo) in-person “conversation” with the kid or kids next to them. And no one seemed to mind. It didn’t matter to them. That was life as they knew it. When I’m talking to someone in my realm, and they’re distracted by their personal communicator – I don’t like it. How have kids today become accustomed to the lack of attention?
  • One Asian group behind us was a bit more astounding. One kid – and I believe either their mom, sister, or girlfriend (couldn’t distinguish the age), was wholly obsessed with some kind of multi-player “fantasy” type game. With Asian sexy characters and outfits. Looked like a highly sophisticated “gamification” type platform. People become obsessed with their games and levels and so on. It consumes them. To the point where they feel the need to be continually occupied. Fascinating as well. (Don’t let that happen to you!)
  • There were countless other customers as well. Doing the ritual “timeline sweeps” as I like to call them – quickly, and I mean very quickly, going through their social media “feeds” swiping and liking, and writing 5-second comments, then going back to what they were doing. Micro-flashes of engagement. Micro!

I left my phone in the car. I would have talked to anyone who wanted to strike up a conversation. But that’s my point. Individuals or small groups – when paired with a communication device – either stay within the group – or within themselves. The organic, physical communication is limited. Severely!

Smart Phone prevalence – outrageous

Don’t you find it astonishing how embedded these devices have become in our society? It’s not even considered a taboo whatsoever.

Not many people consider this movement troubling. And it’s not just cell devices. It’s social media too.

In fact, some see it as the current “gold mine” for financial opportunity. And they’re probably right. This is where the human attention span is most engaged. The tide has turned prolifically.communication in person conversation fading away - Communication in 2017

Why are so few of us concerned?

People like us – who care to question and examine this profound change in society – are practically shunned upon.

Some might say to us “get with the program,” or ” evolve or die!”

Part of that may be true – to an extent. Understanding the mechanisms in play is most likely necessary, in order to navigate the waters ahead. But participating without critical thought is profoundly a terrible idea.

We (society) need(s) to discuss these rapidly-shifting changes in how the world communicates. Not simply for “cashing in” on it, but also to see the bigger picture in terms of humanity – and those that temporarily may be in control of the levers of perception that move large herds of human souls.

Complete Clusterfu*k!

Some of you might know we rarely spend any time “engaging” in social media. We voluntarily chose that route to maintain mental clarity and the ability to focus on much bigger and more important things.

a world full of selfie maniacs - Communication in 2017However, we do spot-check and monitor (briefly) what the world is doing. And each time it gets and feels worse.

(To us), it appears that almost MOST people within a certain demographic (for argument’s sake – between 18-59 years old) spend prolific amounts of time expressing themselves in venues like Twitter and Facebook (and Instagram and Snapchat for the younger groups…)

Someone posts something either in agreement with their beliefs (they then comment something supportive) or profoundly AGAINST their beliefs (in which they attack or hurl insults). These short tidbits of opinions and feelings NEVER (in our observations) lead to deep conversation, research, or understanding. It’s like a massive “knee-jerk-fest.” No new knowledge or perspective gained. People either further fortify their beliefs – or increase the divide between opposite thoughts. The opposite of progress in our opinion.

I’ve mentioned it before – it’s like someone in the middle of a place like Yankee Stadium hollering an opinion – and the entire crowd yelling their thoughts simultaneously.

It’s no way to further the evolution of mankind, is it? “Data Analytics” can only work perfectly in non-human situations. The minute you bring people into the mix – you’re screwed long-term.

So we’re sitting on the sidelines here – kind of watching this slow-motion (soon to be) train-wreck take place before our very eyes. It’s unprecedented.

Not sure what to do at this point.

Whatever happens – we’ll have our heads screwed on tight – and will be fully prepared for what comes next.

In Conclusion:

Yes, I’ll admit that people are communicating more than ever. On the surface at least.

Sure, there may be more important “connections” being made in 2017 than ever thought possible.

But there are fewer people communicating with themselves.

empty public park - Communication in 2017Or physically.

We travel the tri-state area almost daily (in search of the diamonds in the rough in terms of good places to spend our free time outside of the apartment). And what we see is astounding. Especially outside of cities like Hoboken.

Here, there is profound foot traffic. Either to and from a destination, maybe even the dog park. Lots of joggers, restaurant dwellers, etc. That will happen forever in most densely-populated areas. But those are the exceptions when it comes to the rest of the world.

But look anywhere else – and it’s a different story. Massive 10+ acre parks are often unoccupied other than organized team sports. Neighborhoods are VOID of people. No one is outside. The few people we DO see outside are foreign landscapers. And on occasion, we see OLDER people walking around. But most still have crutches devices in their hands, heads down. That is why it’s crucial to examine the whole she-bang rather than what is inside a bubble like Hoboken.

Do a little experiment yourself. Sit at a Hoboken bus stop or just stand on the corner and look around. You’ll find a lot of answers in just half an hour.

Then repeat that experiment weekly. Over time, you’ll be able to connect the dots eventually. But you have to leave your device at home to see the truth.

Your food for thought for this afternoon.

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Friday, May 26, 2017 2:17 am

I’m with you with this entire subject. Talking to my friends has become tiresome.

I cannot say much more, other than I’m saddened by all of it.

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