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#BrainReinvention – The Irony of Social Media and Smart Phones 24/7

It’s quite ironic that I would share this blog today as my agency is handling sponsorship for the 8th Annual Shorty Awards (this Monday in NYC – Live Stream on #YouTube @shortyawards – shameless plug)

So that said, I started this blog a few weeks ago as I realized how ironic/sad/telling of this generation …that we just don’t allow ourselves to be present…or do we?  Are we just present in so many more ways at the same time?  Is it really possible that we can’t multi-task that well or are we becoming more “multi-task-able” as our needs expand and evolve?  Yes, it’s evolution and given how little of our brains we are told that we use (apparently 10%), it seems there’s a lot more we’re capable of handling and processing. Well here it is!

Welcome to the #BrainReinvention period in society!

I had a great mini heated debate with the social media guru/entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) over dinner at CES — I’m a traditional thinker with a progressive attitude and the thought of social media taking over our world, our kids brains and social aptitude just kills me.  Of course, I’m in the industry so what I dislike about it, I also love about it.  He accused me of being an “old fashioned thinker” when I pointed out how sad that our young generation are losing the art of a true social life.  “It’s just the way it is and it’s progress,” he said.  And he’s not wrong either!

I proudly claim to be a “romantic” that cherishes the social engagement of the past for kids and adults; the respect for manners (not reading messages or typing while you’re talking to someone) Of course, he argued that THIS IS the new social life.  This debate will live on for a long time…but it’s a little unsettling.

Of course, being the greatest marketing, media and social tool of all time is not lost on me whatsoever as I make a living with Social Media/Marketing as a tool of our trade.  But the impact on the next generation is “curious.”  It reminds me of the great debate around television, then handheld game devices, walkmans, bad music-ipods, junk food for that matter…it was all about teaching our kids/selves to watch in moderation, eat in moderation.  Monitor the behavior and make sure their lives are balanced.

Social media and 24/7 smart phones in hand make that difficult but let’s give ourselves a little more credit – maybe we really do have that capacity we’re just not allowing ourselves to accept that.

Ironically – we don’t rely on our mind as much and we don’t trust ourselves to remember the little things.  Even when I had this thought for a blog I immediately grabbed my phone and started to dictate thoughts rather than trusting my memory.

Maybe it has something to do with age (no comment!!) but if you think about all the moments that we photograph so that we won’t forget them. We take photos instead of staring at something and absorbing it and creating that indelible imprint in our mind and our heart. We immediately reach for the camera to capture that moment that we will probably rarely look at it. The depth and intensity just fleeting by instead of being present and in the moment. Don’t even get me started on Selfies and the #VEGO generation (Video Ego)…

And what about all the notes we make to ourselves – we write it all down so that we won’t forget to do something?  We don’t even exercise our brains the way we used to and thus there is most likely a diminishing capacity to do as much as we used to or test that capacity.

The paradox – we’re overusing our brains in one way as we multi-task, search, communicate and document everything we think, see, experience, multi-view;  yet some of the most simple things like remembering a few things we have to do become challenged as we’re not exercising that part of our brain as much.

So here’s the question – do we put down those phones and try to enjoy life – unplug and reconnect with our true self and capabilities? Or do we continue to push ourselves to be greater, more evolved and extraordinary multi-taskers?  Is that the new form of exercise – the brain workout that will grow that muscle like never before?

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