I text, I imessage, I BBM, I Facebook …
Are we becoming more and more disengaged and losing our personal touch and our voices, and replacing them with our fingers?
One of my third year Sociology classes was Society and Technology-boring as hell, but all the other interesting ones had filled up. My professor was more of a smart aleck than a computer whiz. He almost fell over himself when I told him we had computers back home. “You have phones over there?” It was 2003, not 1930. Everyone stared at me silently as I gathered up the courage and told him my first pc was actually an apple (or as we called it Macintosh). It took a couple of seconds for him to lift his jaw off the floor and pretend to scratch his bald spot.
I can tell you that I never thought the stuff we were talking about mattered let alone would come to fruition. The prof was pretty adamant about his research, which included all expense paid trips to conferences in the Americas and Netherlands and other theories backing his thesis, which was the fact that we’d lose our personal (physical) connection with one another and that our emotions would be replaced by emoticons.
Texts and emails have replaced the sound of a person’s voice. I always wonder why for example, people complain after a first date that they didn’t get a call, when they’re predominant form of communication is text. A young nineteen-year-old lady at work asked me once for some advice regarding her relationship. A day later she showed me the equivalent of a single spaced one and a half page of text she’d gone back and forth with the guy with! When I asked her why she didn’t just call him, she simply said, “I don’t know, this just seemed easier”. Fair enough. I don’t have a problem with email but one has to be careful with this one: Watch their tone, make sure they’re sending it to the right recipient and most importantly, do a spell check. Unless there is absolutely no other way to communicate with a friend or relative, wouldn’t it be easier to just simply pick up the phone? Is it because there’s nothing to say? Are we hiding behind all this stuff and using ‘technology’ as an excuse or rather an ally in maintaining ‘fake’ relationships?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for Facebook as much as the next person. How else would one keep up with what a classmate from fifteen years’ kid’s birthday parties? And those status updates … need I say more?
Call me old fashioned, but I’m not one whose phone is attach to their hand or ear. I actually find it quite annoying when I’m at a restaurant and see people texting like they’re life depends on it. I’ve left my phone at home (by accident) a few times and panic has not ensued.
I remember when talking on the phone was something to look forward to. My parents use to lock our old rotary dial phone using a code. My brother and I spent hours trying to decipher it and then argued about who’d accidentally left it ‘unlocked’, making my parents know they’d been had. Screaming “I’ll get it” and racing to the phone was a daily occurrence and it was worth every breath and every fight because knowing that someone wanted to talk to you felt good.
I’m glad my long distance friends appreciate the importance of verbal communication and so does my family because being so far away, sometimes typed letters and emoticons can be fun, but can never replace the real thing.