I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely

The words that I’m about to say may very well be ones of sheer irony, as I sit down at my laptop to write about a video I came across whilst scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a minute ago. Not only that, but with my one free hand (it only takes one to press the ‘PGDN’ button on a keyboard you see) I’d been holding onto my phone and refreshing my Twitter.

Look Up. I’d seen the same video shared a few times across my Facebook this evening, and on my third refresh session I clicked on the link.

“I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely.
I speak to all of them every day, yet none of them really know me.”

These are the sentences writer and director Gary Turk opens his short video with, and for the next five minutes I defy anyone who starts to watch it, to turn the video off. Look Up is a video made to remind us all of the effects of social media on our society. His main message is that, by connecting online through the various social platforms that are now available to us, we’ve started to switch off from the things that are actually important in life.

“We’re at our most happy with an experience we share,
But is it the same if no one is there.”

Gary speaks about how we’ve come to a point today, where we put our whole lives on the internet for everybody to see. Everything we do we feel the need to post, and every post we share we feel the need to exaggerate or modify. In an interview I held the other day, the person I was talking to told me that the majority of posts people put across social media are there to make other people jealous. This video backs this idea up as Gary explains that by editing and exaggerating what we share, we’re refusing to acknowledge our social isolation.

He goes on to demonstrate one man’s life and the things that could happen from one ‘real moment’ if we just put down our phones. It shows that first meeting between a boy and a girl, their first date, first house, first child, right through to that last kiss goodbye. It’s those moments we’re all looking for as our eyes are fixed on our screens. At the end the video loops back to that first encounter as Gary recites the following words:

“But none of these times ever happened; you never had any of this.
When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances that you miss.
So look up from your phones, and shut down those displays.
We have a finite existence, and set number of days.”

The video is a powerful message to us all that there is so much we miss in our lives when we spend so much time locked into the internet. It makes you think about how ‘social’ we really are as a society, and it encourages us to shut off, and go out to experience what moments are waiting for us outside. What’s most ironic of all is that most of you will come across this video the way that I did; online. And, perhaps you’ll share the video with friends and family on Facebook. It really is scary just how much of a hold social media has on the way we live, but I’m encouraging anyone who reads this to go and watch Gary’s video. Maybe tomorrow I’ll switch of my 3G and see what else I can get out of my day…  


Image by: Jason Howie

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