Could you go a day without emailing, tweeting, using Facebook, sending a text message on your android/smartphone, or interacting with anyone online using your desktop, laptop or iPad? Food for thought. Most of us rely heavily on technology to keep in touch with each other. But how well do we actually “communicate” and is our dedication to virtual living killing off our social skills?

Like magpies attracted to shiny objects, gay men and women have the reputation of embracing (usually first) any new gadgets and applications that hit the market. They are also more likely to engage in online activities. Keep us from our toys and we sweat with separation anxiety. But as much as we enjoy the fun and freedom our devices provide us with, knowing when to take a break from them is important.

MBH (my better half) and I were at the movies watching Magic Mike recently when some woman’s mobile phone went off in the audience. And she took the call. An emergency? No, just telling a friend where she was and what she was ogling at.

Afterwards, my partner and I headed to a local café where we tucked into coffee and dessert. Within minutes, a group of men were seated at a table next to ours. MBH signalled discreetly towards them. All had their phones out and, heads bowed as if in a prayer meeting, were tapping away at their screens.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my partner and I use social media almost every day and think it’s an incredible invention. Whilst recently overseas our iPad was a lifesaver. Without it we’d never have been able to communicate our safety to family and friends during a hurricane we were caught in. However, we did make a point of not bringing it along while meeting new people over dinners and sight-seeing.

And just a few nights ago, lying in bed next to me, MBH got stuck into Facebook on his iPad. When time came to get some shut eye, I was able to “pm” him from my android to ask him to switch off the lights. Who knew technology could be so amazing! Technology has no doubt made our lives better, but it has also taught us to reassess our social and communication priorities. For us, real life will always take precedence over virtual life.

INFO: Follow Luke Brighty on Twitter via @brightlights_66

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