It often seems like conversations about our relationships to social media are as much a part of our modern existence as our actual use of it.
So here’s a modern tale: In March I went out of the country on assignment for another publication and before disembarking, procured an international plan through my cellphone provider (actually, my mother-in-law did it for me, but let’s pretend for a minute, shall we, that I’m actually a responsible adult who has his own cellphone plan). When I returned to the States and my international plan expired, for a yet-to-be determined reason my smartphone ceased doing any and all the things that we have come to rely on “phones” doing. That is, unless I was connected to Wi-Fi. So between home and work, for the majority of places I would go on a daily basis, I was disconnected from much of the modern experience: No texts. No calls. No emails. No social media. (Oh, but the calculator worked!)
Anxiety ensued. In line at the grocery store: I could only stand there like a weirdo and try not to make eye contact with anyone. Engaged in a boring conversation: I had to pretend I cared. Driving: I was forced to keep my focus on the task at hand!
It was kind of great, actually. I still saw nearly every Instagram and Facebook post shared by close friends and acquaintances. The most important news headlines of the day remained important enough to still be headlines by the time I checked them (that is to say: the world was still crazy). Instead of interrupting a conversation, zoning out in the checkout line, or endangering the lives of others while behind the wheel, I only interacted with the digital world when appropriate.
The truth is, while fun, entertaining, and sometimes enlightening, all the smartphone-accessible things that portend to provide enhanced connectivity and convenience end up being impediments to real human interaction. And through my partial-digital-cleanse, I actually ended up with a much healthier relationship to technology.
For this year’s #1 in the 904 issue (on news stands now), which features the results of our annual readers poll, we’ve ventured to capture the best moments of an epic day in Northeast Florida through the lens of an Instagram story. Perhaps our modern world’s most widely used form of self expression, the IG story is where we share our daily highlights. It’s also where we impart our values, our tastes, our likes and dislikes. At Void, it’s one of many ways we engage with our readership.
And while the idea of Instagram in print may create some cognitive dissonance, we at Void view our social media presence as something that augments and enhances our monthly print product. People use Void’s various social media platforms to engage with the brand (and we, delightfully, engage back) in a way that’s just not possible in print. The print product then takes on more figurative weight, as the best, most relevant, or important stories and photos are shared on paper—a tangible, lasting product! It’s a relationship that’s healthy. And if you’re familiar at all with the modern media landscape’s struggles to adapt to the new paradigm that social media presents, you’ll certainly recognize it as a relationship that’s rare (Do you follow Wall Street Journal on Insta? Didn’t think so.)
More than anything it seemed like a fun way to reveal the results of our annual readers poll. Taken as a whole, the results of the #1 in the 904 survey reflect the best version Northeast Florida. Whether you’re engaging with us in print, or on your computer, or on your smartphone, we hope you’re doing so in a way that is healthy and enjoyable.
For complete results of our #1 in the 904 poll, pick up a FREE copy of Void Magazine. Click here to find a business that carries the mag.