Reconciliation is supposed to be a defining characteristic of Christian community. But the social media and messaging apps that smartphones weld into everyday life might actually get in the way.
The previous post highlighted a CBS News report* detailing how app developers attempt to deliberately manipulate the way our brains work. The goal is to keep us coming back to apps and the advertising they push. But one of the byproducts is that our phones make us anxious when we don’t use them. So, if you are in conflict with someone and using social media or messaging apps to communicate, you are likely at least somewhat stressed before the fighting ever starts.
This seems like a recipe for misunderstanding and escalation.
Plain-old email is bad enough. Text-based communication inherently lacks the non-verbal cues required for language to fully express emotions. Over the years I have watched a number of conflicts spiral out of control as the recipient colored otherwise innocuous language with tones to which the sender was insensitive. But now a smartphone addiction can add a dollop of excess cortisol and load the interchange with some very unhealthy overhead.
So, the next time you feel the urge to fire off an angry text or post to a friend, just don’t.
Instead, use this cool app on your phone that allows you to avoid all that. You know, the one that makes phone calls. Call the person and have a conversation.
Or better yet call them, arrange to meet for coffee, and then have the conversation.
*Anderson Cooper. What is “brain hacking”? Tech insiders on why you should care 60 Minutes, CBS News, June 11, 2017. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-is-brain-hacking-tech-insiders-on-why-you-should-care/