Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who shall remain nameless more than usual on here. The conversation went something like this. “Oh, I heard <personal event> happened. What’s going on?” “Oh, it’s a long story. I posted it on my Facebook status. You didn’t read it?” “Um, no. I missed it. Why don’t you tell me about it now?” “Well, okay.” So, here’s my issue. Do you mean to tell me I now have a social responsibility to keep updated on close friends only through their Facebook/Myspace/Twitter/blog? When did talking become such a chore? I don’t have access to it right now, but there’s a great video of a speech about how our social interaction have actually become stunted by the internet and PDAs/cell phones. One statement made was, “Whatever is going on in my phone or on the internet is much more interesting than what’s going on right now in my real life.” It seems as if we’re replacing real life interaction, even talking, with this assumption that the internet is somehow a replacement for dialogue. It’s not. I’m sorry if you spent three hours typing a note or blog somewhere, I can’t scroll through four days of statuses and sift through quizzes about Which milkshake you are that brings all the boys to the yard or Bejeweled scores (I swear I’m hiding things as fast as I can, they still keep popping up) to find out you broke your arm. Why don’t you just TELL ME?
I know that I’m guilty of this as well. I expect people to know how I’m doing because of my blog/FB. I’m chastising myself as much I am anyone else. I’ve gotten better with not texting at dinner (and now I’m starting to realize how INCREDIBLY rude it is, sorry, guys) and texting in general. What’s wrong with a phone call? And are we so egotistical and neurotic as a society that we worry that if we don’t have CONSTANT contact with our loved ones that they’ll think we don’t care and/or stop caring about us? My job is almost entirely on the phone and I have no problem taking calls when I get home from people if it means I can skip a text battle. And to be honest, it’s somewhat theuraputic to hear the voice of people I care about, even if they’re a million miles away.
I’m not saying there’s not an advantage to having more forms of communication to stay in touch with people that are part of your life or even more so, professionally. It’s that we’re slowly replacing personal contact with impersonal contact. How many times have you texted or IMed someone and they understood the words of your message, but not the feeling or missed a subtle inflection and a joke or at, times, real concern? That’s why we don’t speak in monotones (and NO, smileys don’t make up for it). I don’t know the answer, but there has to be a balance. And yes, if you find me to be guilty of these things, call my kettle black. I am trying to break these bad habits.