Our overuse of technology has completely transformed the way we communicate and interact with each other. Teenagers spend over 6 hours in front of their screens daily. Projections estimate the average adult will spend almost 7 years of their life time on social media. As much as digital technology can be beneficial to us just as much it can negatively impact our lives. Like a drug the usage of smartphones can create an addiction interfering with our health and relationships. With smartphones, we literally have a world of distractions at our fingertips. It becomes an escape from reality. So how should we deal with this in the future? We now have to practice social distancing and are forced to communicate with digital media more than ever before. What will happen when we cannot spend time physically with our loved ones for long periods? What are the consequences of being isolated at home? I have been studying this trend for over a decade and experienced the social dilemma it brings to our lives. I believe it is urgent that we come together and discuss the impact of our reliance on technology. - It's time to disconnect to reconnect!
SEARCH DEEP AND WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. SEARCH DEEPER AND WE ARE ALL THE SAME. - ROB HOLUB
SEARCHING FOR CONTACT
"When I became addicted to social media, I went on a journey to reclaim my life."
I just finished my first album and I'm excited to see it blow up. I move to New York City dreaming of a career as a successful musician. When meeting music managers and agents it always ends with the same question: "How many social media followers do you have?“. My reply is "none". Over the next few months, I devote every second to building my online following. I trade my real life for a virtual one. My obsession with chasing online fame becomes overwhelming. I feel stressed and restless. As a result of this addiction I lose my girlfriend, my job and my health.
Social media - my supposed new ally - has become my worst enemy.
I wonder whether other people feel the same emptiness as me. I find myself constantly asking artists and professionals about their social media habits. Does their online success make them happy? How do they cope with the increasing pressure of promoting themselves on social media? I record these conversations on my smartphone.
None of their answers seem to help me resolve my crisis. I decide to escape to the Burning Man festival in Nevada, a city in the desert built by artists who create a culture of meaningful human connections free from judgment. Here you can understand who you truly are they say. For some people this can be a life changing experience but for me it was merely a step in the right direction.
Once back in New York, I continue to interview people and search for something more meaningful. What should be the of role social media? Is it just a cry for attention? Why are we not living in the moment any more? Are these expectations real or are we just tricked into spending more time on our screens? How are we supposed to cope with the technology pervading our lives? These questions gradually become more important to me than my success in music.
I decide to leave New York and my dream behind. I move back to my home country Switzerland.
In Switzerland my search for answers remains and so does my restlessness. I decide to give music another shot. I travel to Mongolia to shoot a music video, hoping that it will go viral. When I return home, I publish the video on YouTube but it fails to attract many viewers. I am devastated. I realize I am trapped in the spiral of virtual reality again. Depression looms over me and I stop writing music.
Vincent is a French guy who left the corporate world and lives as a nomad without a smartphone. I meet him during a 10-day silent retreat which I attend to find some peace in life. This encounter inspires me to embark on a journey around the world to find real human connection, the stillness of nature and an alternative way of life.
When returning back to Switzerland from a trip to Bhutan, I decide to put together all my experiences into a documentary film. "Searching for Contact" is born. I am healed and feel creative again. One morning I wake up and hear in the news the country is going into lockdown and the government is introducing social distancing. The only way to connect with loved ones is through the smartphone and computer. I get trapped into a virtual reality having no other choice. How ironic. Have I now lost the human touch forever?
FILMMAKER ROB HOLUB
Rob Holub is the producer, director and protagonist of the documentary film
Producer & Director
Rob Holub is an accomplished television and film producer, a sought-after public speaker and a singer/songwriter under the name of SOKOL. With more than 15 years of international experience, Rob has made a name for himself in television production, both behind and in front of the camera, including working for SRF, Pro7, Sat.1 in Switzerland and various projects in New York City.
Rob is currently producing his first documentary film „Searching for Contact“. In the film Rob examines how to keep human connections alive, while navigating the digital transformation in a world which is increasingly controlled by technologies. Rob studied media, journalism and sociology in Fribourg, Switzerland and in California, USA, and graduated bilingual with a Master of Arts degree. His studies and travels around the world, to more than 40 countries, have deeply influenced his work and his goals to help people connect with each other on a personal human level.