It was a warm evening in Gracias. After a long day of meetings with important water board members, we found ourselves in a charming, hole-in-the-wall pupusa restaurant. We divided into small groups to sit at different tables. As we ate and chatted about the day, we looked up to see that there, at the other table, were two students staring blankly at their handheld devices. They were completely absorbed in their screens and were oblivious to the delicious food and to each other.
This was often the case every time we went somewhere. The first thing many students did when we arrived at a restaurant or hotel was find the proprietor and ask, “What is the Wifi password?” We were surprised the first couple times this happened, as neither of us was even expecting to have Wifi, and it would not have occurred to us to even ask. From our perspective, this trip was an opportunity to immerse ourselves in a different culture, and to take a break from constant communication. Clearly, our peers did not share this attitude, and felt the need to validate every experience by posting it on social media. Even though some were aware of their social media addiction, they were not able to resist the allure.
Why? What? How?
We were both weirded out by this behavior. Why do people feel the need to share everything they do on social media the instant they do it? Why were students calling each other out for not liking each other’s photos on Facebook when we were all there when the photos were taken and saw their subject matter in the real world? Instead of being present and immersing themselves in what was happening around them, they chose to be on their phones. What is the point of being somewhere if you’re not actually there?
That being said, we know the internet is good for some things, such as having the plant operators be able to send data as they get it. But it’s also essential to take a break from it once in a while and connect with your surroundings.
In conclusion: What is a Snapchat streak, and why does it even matter? Please explain.