Sitting toward the back of the shuttle, I noticed a perfectly paralleled array of students with one thing in common — their eyes were glued to the fluorescent screens of their sleek iPhones and Androids.

I continued to mouth off and laugh in a conversation with my twin sister when she suddenly turned her attention to the awkward silence slicing the claustrophobic atmosphere. We were the only ones talking.

Now anyone who really knows me knows I love my phone. It's where I store important memos, lecture notes and my recorded interviews for the articles I write. I take full advantage of this new digitized age orbiting the growth of my generation.

However, with social media literally at the tips of my fingers, it sometimes gets overwhelming.

In this day and age, the disadvantage of social media is affecting one of the most intimate aspects of humanity: communication.

Why is it that we are more prone to instant messaging one of our friends through Facebook or sending them a haphazard text message instead of making a good old-fashioned phone call?

It seems that as we become more spoiled by the concept of technological advancements at our disposal, we've decided to somewhat annihilate the idea of face-to-face conversations as they become more of an inconvenience.

According to statistics from the Mobile Youth Report, 81 percent of youths under 25 sleep with their phones next to them on their beds, and 74 percent reach for their smartphone immediately after waking up.

Relating to this statistic, I am guilty as charged. Yet I do realize the importance of being able to communicate openly to my family and friends, instead of relying on a Twitter update to relay the message for me.

I realize that people's lives can spin out of control with stress and a busy schedule and, in that case, you may not want to take the extra time to make a phone call because an expeditious text saves more time.

It's important that we don't get too wrapped up in technology and take the time to be grateful for the relationships we've developed in our lives.

Reaching out to actually meet with a friend, family member or co-worker can let them know that you genuinely care about what's going on in their lives. The best part about that is when we begin to develop better communication in our lives, it builds trust and honesty. It will allow people to reciprocate the morals and etiquette that were once instilled in us way back in the age of bulky television sets and antennaed cellphones.

That's right; I'm referring to the '90s. It doesn't just represent a time decorated with the posh fashion of Clueless, but the less technical age into which we were born.

Social media and phones that are going to eventually be able to do our laundry aren't bad inventions. I personally consider my laptop, iPhone and iPad my babies. I even find myself absentmindedly activating my IG apps and double-tapping on my friend's overly hashtagged selfies while talking on the phone with my long-distance beau. OOPS!

It's unrealistic to not fall into the trap of becoming addicted to digital socializing, but we have to always be conscious of our intentions when we are socializing with one another.

If we're in a time when it's not acceptable to attend a job interview through Twitter, then it shouldn't be acceptable to "hit up" our close friends with a 10-second Snapchat as our only means of communication.

The phone contacts list still exists in our phones. Right beneath all of our social media apps, it's the green icon that's labeled "phone," or, in other words, "remember me!"


Shanae Hardy is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at

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