Wifi, or any connection to the internet, is one of the most prized possessions of my
generation. We are constantly checking Snapchat or updating our Instagram feed—we are addicted to the feeling of being connected to those around us. This perpetual sense of connectivity has its perks, but it also has its drawbacks. Being afforded the opportunity to share our experiences with those around us is as instant and efficient as ever. I couldn’t imagine not being able to stay connected with friends and family through social media or other online forms of communication. However, it is easy to become wrapped up in the need to stay connected, or in maintaining the image we try to portray to those around us.
I feel like I have always been fairly aware of the line between staying connected and unnecessary social media use. I am aware, but sometimes I dance the line. It truly is addicting to be able to share so much with the people you are connected with, and vice versa. It is easy to become wrapped up in the worm hole that is social media. The likes, shares, retweets, and comments. It is great to feel validated and appreciated and well liked. Nevertheless, there is a difference between online presence and online dependency.
Today, we spent the day hiking, exploring, and most importantly, with little to no internet connection. Upon arrival to our hostel in Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, we quickly realized that our phones had no service and there was no wifi. We were less than thrilled. We were then informed that dinner was in an hour, and that there would most likely be wifi there! Once we all sat down for dinner, we saw the promise land that was free wifi. Dinner conversation quickly turned to a group of twenty with their heads in their phones. This was not an uncommon sight for members of my generation, who could often be found out to coffee with friends but with their attention turned to their phones. Sometimes our drive to remain connected on social media interferes with our ability to connect with those around us.
After dinner, we returned to our hostel in search of something to do. Ordinarily, we would have been able to go back to our rooms and read through our social media feeds before continuing on with our nights. Since we did not have that luxury, a few of us decided to explore the city some more. We heard about a trail leading to a rope bridge that was just outside the town, so we set out to find it. After following a few signs indicating its location, we were quickly in awe of the cliffs and rolling hills suddenly before us. A tiny town turned into a magnificent view of the Atlantic ocean. We walked the path carved into the hills leading us to the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. It was well worth the three mile walk, and our view was enhanced by the slowly setting sun. Looking back, all of this was made possible by the fact that we were bored and without wifi. It is events like these that remind me that although being connected is nice, we need to take time to put our phones down, go out, and be curious.