A Response to Gary Turk’s “Look Up”

Image from youtube.com Credited to Gary Turk

Image from youtube.com
Credited to Gary Turk

“Look Up” has caused a lot of conversation about social media these past few weeks.

In the video, Gary Turk gives a spoken word warning the online generation about the dangers of spending their whole lives looking down on a screen. He reminisces about a time when children played outside instead on their iPhones, and people chatted with each other on trains instead of texting. He tells a second person story of a person who fell in love, got married, and had kids and grandkids because that person put down his iPhone.

Since the video’s release, there have been many parody videos and blog posts critiquing Turk’s message.

“He romantically describes an alternate universe where everything is awesome that we’re supposed to yearn for; but it sounds like a terrifying melodramatic nightmare,” Andy Boxall said in a digitaltrends.com article, “Yes, Look Up is exaggerated for effect, but I fear he is basing his world where social media has been eradicated on Downton Abbey.”

Though I agree with Boxall that the universe that Turk describes is less than realistic, I still think the video has some valid points.

“We edit and exaggerate, we crave adulation,” Turk said in the video, “We pretend not to notice the social isolation. We put our words into order until our lives are glistening,we don’t even know if anyone is listening.” How many times have you checked Facebook time and time again to see if anyone liked your post?

According to a study at York University, narcissists and people with low self esteem are more likely to spend more than an hour on Facebook each day. The study, published in the Scientific American website in 2010, measured 100 college age Facebook users on the Narcissism Personality Inventory and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. It also measured how much time each student spent on Facebook, as well as their activities such as posting status updates and sharing photos.

Another study at the University of Michigan that was published in 2013 concluded that the more people use Facebook, the less satisfied with they are their lives. The researchers surveyed over 80 people and texted them five times a day for two weeks, asking them about how they feel overall, how lonely they feel, how worried they feel, how much Facebook they’ve used since the last text, and how much they’ve interacted with other people since the last text.

To be honest, there have been times in which I’ve kept less in contact with friends who don’t have an account on the latest social media website. I know I need to spend more time investing in all of my friendships-regardless of whether that friend has the latest social media account or not.

However, I think that it is somewhat hypocritical to post a video about the dangers of technology, as Spencer Owen said in his parody video.

“You see Gary, without the internet you’d be in bits,” Owen said in the video, ”No one knew who you were before you got your first million hits.”

Some may say that making a video is the only way to reach the online generation, but I believe that proves my point. Social media can be a useful communication tool for Gary Turk or anyone living in the 2010s. I don’t think that spending x number of hours online is going to directly hurt anyone’s chances of getting married, having children, or doing whatever he or she dreams of doing in life. Still, there needs to be balance.

Yes, it is rude to text or check your phone when spending time with other people. Yes, you should have to put your phone away at school or at work. No, phones and social media are not the end of the human race as we know it.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the video’s message? Do you agree with how Turk presented the message?

Additional Sources:

Tell the Truth

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: