The onslaught of digital communities and virtual connections in our lives has left people more connected and disconnected than any other time in history. After a decade of gorging ourselves on friending, liking, tweeting status updates, instagramming meals and snapchatting conversations – sometimes in lieu of connecting with our friends and family offline – what we are craving today is authentic human connection. The SHIFT Report shows that 81% of people listed feeling connected to family, friends and community as a top sustainability issue.
A new wave of messaging is tapping into the growing cultural and consumer desire to be more present and conscious of their lives by literally “looking up.” In Gary Turk’s recent short spoken word film, Turk asks people to spend less time connecting virtually, and more time connecting in the real world.
This film, which has now generated 15,722,683 views on YouTube, addresses the increasing trend in society of social media overload.
Turk voices a common concern that through our increased need to fetter ourselves to an online “community,” we have actually begun to feel more lonely, less attached and disillusioned by our addiction to our mobile devices.
Recently, brands have joined the movement as well. UNICEF’s Tap Project challenges people to put their phones aside for a moment in exchange for a clean water donation. The campaign stems from the fact that our generation can no longer go for even a few minutes without checking our cell phones, drawing parallels with the larger issue of being unable to go without safe drinking water.
Coca Cola’s fictional Social Media Guard ties in the brand’s messaging of “sharing moments,” and musingly advertises a human-sized, Coke-red dog collar.
Whether or not these campaigns will truly cure our addiction to mobile phones and social media remains to be seen, but the message is in line with what people are craving today: authentic and real connection with the people in their lives, i.e. Looking Up.