Turn off, Tune in, Look up from your device

This YouTube video about our online behaviour really makes me stop and think about my online behaviour. Its a simple, but compelling message.  Look up has been doing the rounds on the Internet and social media for a couple of weeks and has already been seen over 21 million times. It is intended to make us stop and think about what we do online and how we are ignoring the world – and the people around us.

In the late 1990’s the “Advice to live by” video did the rounds on email. Its phrase “Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly” and other advice about sunscreen resonates even today. Some pieces of advice endure through time.

And this video will also resonate in years to come as we learn to change our online behaviour and stop relying on our hyper-connected social worlds. Just like reading beauty magazines will make us feel ugly, reading social networking updates will make us feel lonely.

In fact, I mused last summer about why our social networks make us feel lonely and how by being absorbed in this perfect online hyped world we can feel lonely and excluded from activities our friends are sharing without us.

If you go to a public place and look around you you will see the same behaviour wherever you look. Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. People are transfixed by the small screen and its messages. These people are ignoring the big screen all around them. Other people, families, nature and — REAL LIFE —  is happening all around us.

But we would prefer to stare at our smartphone…

We laugh when we see people videoing a sign describing what you are looking at in an area of great natural beauty. “It’s so we can remember it when we get back home” they say. But instead of just videoing the sign and its surroundings, why don’t they put the video camera down, look around them and spend time taking in the majesty of the view around you.

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Timothy Leary said, “Turn on, tune in, drop out” Although meant in a different context, Turning on and tuning in to your device makes you “drop out” of  all that is happening around you.   Don’t miss the best things in life, the sunrises, sunsets, bees buzzing, flowers blooming.

Take some time to smell the flowers. But importantly, take that device in your hand, put it in your pocket and Look Up.

You’ll be glad you did…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.