I had the pleasure this weekend of driving to the Sunshine Coast (QLD).
On the side of the road was a mobile message board. You know the ones, they flash messages at drivers to inform them of some requirements ahead.
The first message was Follow road signs.
The second message was Not your GPS.
Apart from a healthy chuckle, it made me consider how reliant we can be on technology. I’ve had a few incidents recently where tech has not delivered me good outcomes. GPS black spots in tunnels and voicemails stuck in cyberspace, to name a couple.
Specifically in this case though, it made me think of the ‘physical’ world and the ‘digital’ world that we dually inhabit. One filled with tangible road signs and one filled with a constructed and curated virtual reality housed in a digital space.
Now I’m not going to get all metaphysical or quantum on you and introduce you to Schrodinger’s Cat, but I do wonder…
How often do we allow the ‘real’ world and the ‘digital’ world to blur and even meld into a reality that doesn’t serve us, or others?
How often do we view ourselves and others through a virtual, technological filter – our GPS – which filters out the physical, tangible parts – the road signs?
We choose to believe that what is put into the digital medium is true and accurate. That what’s there on social media platforms including LinkedIn, is ‘true’ and ‘real’.
This increases the possibility and likelihood that we can be misled or misdirected by following someone’s digital footprints, the ‘virtual human’. We miss what’s really happening for the ‘physical Human’ and the real footprints they leave, which may be different, and are likely to be more accurate and representative.
If we purely followed the GPS we would on occasion, end up driving in a paddock or into a creek! It’s the same with people. We can easily end up in places that we never intended to, purely because we followed the digital, and not the physical roadsigns.
There is some great advice wrapped up in this roadside message board…
I’d offer that we should ‘follow the signs’ and not just the digital.
If we want to seek out what’s really going on with someone we should connect with them in person. An investment of time and the gift of your presence will be much appreciated and yield great returns in your relationship and in enabling a true connection with another.
Go beyond the potentially fabricated and virtual stories manufactured on social media, the ‘GPS’.
Time to step out from behind those screens, and the less useful connection they offer. Go get your hands, your heart, and your head a little dirty in this wonderful mess called life.
Go connect with another human being (or 3). I guarantee it’s worth it.