How many times did you check your Facebook, Twitter or email in the last hour?
Now how many face-to-face conversations have you had in the past hour? I can almost bet you had fewer actual conversations than an interaction in the cyberspace.
I cannot judge — I checked my email three times in the last hour, Facebook twice and Twitter once.
Today, with the advancement of social media platforms, users are blocking real-life social interaction among themselves.
Simply think about it: Whenever you or someone else is online, don't you lean your head slightly down to pay close attention?
Doesn't the light blue color of the screen from your device shine in your face, and don't your surroundings seem to be put aside in “pause” mode?
Your entire attention is devoted to that screen, and anything happening around falls in a completely vague background.
This can be clearly seen in a college town like State College, Pa., in a metropolitan city like Buenos Aires or in a developed country like Japan.
In other words, a great deal of the world is being sucked into YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Blogger, LinkedIn, Foursquare, most recently Pinterest and many other social media websites due to their practically endless variable options of communication.
And some are great tools. Twitter was used by many during the Arab Spring to as an engagement tool that also let more people express their reactions to the movement and broadcast those across the world.
But even so, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.
For most people, social media has become more than a simple way to catch up with an old friend; it has become a mode of blocking actual social interaction.
As I concluded my last final exam for the spring semester, I decided to meet up some friends for dinner.
Because we hadn't seen each other for a long time, I assumed conversations about or current lives and future plans would be enough to fulfill our meeting, so I turned my phone off.
At every chance of silence, they would all look down to their smart phones, their faces illuminated by the blueish light for few minutes.
Once they had safely landed back their phones had absorbed not only their attention, but also their entire social skills. Each time, the silence prolonged along with their time out in cyberspace.
On my way home, a few ideas popped up in my mind to avoid missing present and future pleasant experiences and not to be rude in the presence of others.
If you plan to pay a visit to someone's home, just like in other cultures, you are advised to take off your shoes before walking through the residence. In the same way, you could put your gadget away during your real-life social interactions. This way, your reunions can flow without outside distractions.
And I bet you’ll find you can discover completely new updates from the person across the table from you who made a commitment to have his or her body and mind there at that moment.
My favorite idea for avoiding gadget addiction is the “phone pile.” Students are normally on a tight budget, so this option is a plus because it potentially involves money.
Pile up your phone along with your friends' phones on a table, and the first one who desperately reaches for it has to pay the check at the end of that night or in a future event.
Value your real life moments over any news feed or new tweets. The Internet will be there forever, but co-workers, friends, family members and life experiences will be gone sooner.
In the long run, you will go back in your mind trying to picture the best moments in your life.
But all of it can be ruined or not even exist if the seemingly unstoppable desire to tell what is going in your mind to the rest of the world instead of to the person in front of you can lead to regrets later.
Eric Visintainer is a senior majoring in print journalism and is The Daily Collegian’s Thursday columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.