Doers or Viewers?

We had a very negative, but short, Trip Advisor review the other day. The issue appeared to be that we would not give out our business Wi-Fi password to a guest while we were upgrading our customer Wi-fi service with new equipment. Of course, if the customer had needed the service for an emergency, then we could have and would have accommodated that.

Instead, the lack of opportunity for that person to be constantly online all the time was a major issue. They described it as being “horrible”.

Food for thought.

I would certainly not be the first person to comment on our addiction to our phones. Look at what people are doing in any café or on any street. Staring at the screens on their phones, somewhat oblivious to what is happening around them.

We see this at River Valley as well. In fact, to counter this, visiting tour guides will often tell their passengers that either the River Valley internet service is not the best (sometimes true), or non-existent (not true).

However, what we are really talking about is not the phone, but rather the changes in behaviour and culture we see occurring in our customers, particularly, younger customers.

This change in behaviour was well described to me by a tour guide when describing the difficulty, he was having encouraging his passengers to be engaged. He described it as people becoming more “Viewers rather than Doers”.

This simple statement, “Viewers rather than Doers”, summed up perfectly what we increasingly see. That is, people who want to consume experiences through other people’s experiences, especially via video, rather than participating themselves.

Why get out and experience something new yourself? If it is an outdoor adventure, then you could get wet, or tired, or physically challenged, or must work together with other people in a non-digital real way. In addition, you think you already know everything about the adventure anyway. This knowledge has been gained from watching someone else taking part in that experience via some social media platform.


However, The Real Issue Is Deeper Still

The real issue is separateness. How increasingly we are marooned and cast adrift on our own little islands of insularity. The video allows us to consume without connection. To observe without risk. To experience without buy in. To see the floral arrangement without smelling the flowers.

And so, it is with our relationships with people. Why reach out to the person sitting next to you when you can retreat into a risk-free digital world of being an observer only? Is it any wonder our society has so many social issues?

Is it any wonder that we not only have this huge disconnect from each other, but also from nature?

Nature is either something “out there” which is experienced through a David Attenborough television program, or it is filled with cuddly talking animals via some Disney film. In neither case do we really experience or appreciate the interconnectedness of all life.

Interconnectedness is Meaning

It is the interconnectedness of life that gives the human condition meaning. Connecting with other people in a real sense. Connecting with the natural world of which we are a part.

When we retreat into the world of Viewing, life is a shallow manufactured experience.

When we become a doer, then a world of real non-manufactured experiences opens for us. Experiences that are rich, personal and unique to you.

The challenge is to become a Doer, rather than just a Viewer.


Brian Megaw

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