Pokemon Go: An Observation

I commend the company that started this craze exactly 13 days ago. I mean i'm all for it. It took a video game to get people off of their asses, to go outside and actually see what sunlight looks like and to explore their towns and cities.

I mean it is a miracle that people are using this app to see the world they live in rather than sitting inside waiting for life to happen. I am glad it took a video game to make people walk around and stare at their phones and see whatever it is going on inside that world (truth: I don’t play nor will I ever-so I don’t really know what the hell is going on). What I do see is that here in Eugene, at any given point and time, is that you can have people staring at their phones, sometimes in groups, waiting for the next event, not necessarily being social, just staring like robots at their phone.

What would make this game great is if you could do the same thing in real life, but as someone is walking down the street waiting for the next event, It pops up with their name and where they are from. As you get closer it, would give you one interesting fact that they have revealed about themselves. As another person got closer, they could start an actual conversation and maybe go on a walk and talk. The prize would be the human interaction, the connection not only to this world but to the inhabitants.

I’m not going to sit here and talk about the merits of this game. I get it, it is a craze and the game forces people to go outside and move around. Hooray! What I don’t get is why did it take a game to do this? Why did it take all of society to realize how dependent we are on our phones. Go outside right now…Look around at how many people are on their phones. Go downtown where you live…LOOK AROUND YOU. You are not asking about the history of a place or learning the legacy, you are asking for clues to the next event. You are a pinball.

I have heard that people have become more social?  Really? Is staring at your phone all day social?  I was in a group on Monday that didn’t say a word to me because I didn't’ have my phone in my hand. I was on a bike ride enjoying nature, listening to the Willamette flow and hearing the birds singing. I tried to say hello, but I was obviously the odd person out.  The only people I heard talking were the ones that were asking if this was a good place while their faces were glued to a phone.

I have seen hundreds of pieces about “disconnecting” or deleting apps on the phone, or putting down the phone. I wrote an article on my blog years ago about it, but I don’t think that message will stick. Until we find a way to truly realize that we aren’t that important and that we don’t need to see what our friends are doing every second of every day, Until we can stop feeling the FOMO and realize we are a part of this great world, not just a bystander, in my humble opinion we are spiraling down the toilet.  Do we feel that we don’t matter that much that we have to use Pokemon Go as a validation to our experience?

Good luck with your game. Hope you get high score…Hope you you get tons of whatever it is you collect. Hope you don’t mind giving your data away so easily. As for me, I’m going to go out and really be present, have a conversation or two with someone not on a phone, stop being afraid and intimidated and start living in this ONLY life we have.

Until next time…

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