Live in the present

Column by Gisselle Hernandez, Assistant Features Editor

In this generation, we are known as digital natives – a term coined by education consultant Marc Prensky to describe those who are born into the technological world and are native speakers of the digital language involving computers and social media.

We get a bad rap for having our noses buried in tiny hand-held screens, having more online friends than real-life friends and suffering from a short attention span due to ever-evolving technology. Let me tell you, we aren’t all that bad.

As a digital native myself, I believe our tech savvy-ness comes in handy. We spring innovations that benefit companies who try to keep up with digital times and we are better at multi-tasking, among other useful skills.

However, sometimes we indeed are all that bad. I arrived at a bitter revelation this weekend. I’m going to sound like a digital-immigrant-grandma right now, but seriously, social media has gone too far. I was checking my friends’ Snapchat stories – for the same reason everybody does: to creepily spy on people’s lives and feel sorry for your own – when a particular one caught my eye.

In this particular Snapchat, someone at a party was snapping the tequila shot they were about to down. As the person panned the room, I noticed every single person involved in this shot-taking ritual had their phones out in front of them videoing as well, just with a different screen for a different audience. Not a single person was actually seeing the act in real life, and it saddened me. Yes, sure, get drunk for all I care. Drink to your college-student heart’s content, honey. Seriously, after a week of all-nighters you probably deserve it. But at least enjoy it!

People are living their life through a screen these days – including me – and for what? To let people know for certain we have a social life?

Of course, everything should occur in moderation. I’m not saying it is sacrilegious to engage in social media, but there’s a limit to everything. Technology offers entertainment  and grants opportunities we had never known before. But we shouldn’t let it take over our lives. And this goes for any social medium.

It may just be the bitter me talking, but the whole Snapchat ordeal baffled me. Those videos last for some hours and then disappear forever (unless you have the app that lets you save them), but you never forget how you felt in a moment.

Whether it was the back of your throat burning as your friends yelled “bottoms up” or a beautiful scenery that took your breath away, we need to learn to live in the moment. Besides, phone screens never do such things justice.