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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Technology Today

Texting, emailing, cell phones, MySpace, Facebook, heck, even Blog pages. What has happened to us? Our world of convenience has started to become quite inconvenient, hasn't it? For the last several months (if not couple of years), I have had to reflect on certain things in my life and what has changed for the better and what has changed for the worse. It all started with the pager. Someone would call your pager number, it would vibrate or make a beeping noise to indicate a call had come through, you would see the number, if you recognized it...you called, if you didn't...you called. You even responded faster if 911 followed the phone number. Then we got the internet with email. Great for business, not so great for personal relationships. It would not matter what the email said, but it could have been taken out of context simply because of too many exclamation points or too many capitals (because we all know that means yelling, right?) The convenience of the email is nice in the sense that it eliminates too much talk if you are trying to avoid that. But again, where is the person's voice behind that message?

Cell phones. What can I say? Convenient? Yes. Handy? Yes. Odd? Yes. There have been many a times that I have needed to contact my husband with an urgent message when I have been away from a telephone, but my cell phone happened to be in my purse. When I was in my car accident, I was able to call 911 within seconds of it happening to insure a quick response to my and my daughter's safety and well being. However, when we all talk on our cell phones throughout the day, aren't we missing out on opportunities when the day comes to an end and you are at home with your spouse that we can sit and have a conversation? What's left to talk about? I have accidently left my phone in my car and Mike has gotten very angry about it because it causes him to worry. He has done the same, and I've wanted to have a heart attack after the fourth call and no answer. It never used to be like that. It used to be (and mind you, I'm talking about ALL of us {I didn't just yell when I wrote "all" in capitals}), that we'd all go off to work, have our lunch break, if we were lucky enough, get a phone call from our spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend, we'd get butterflies in our stomachs, and at the end of the day meet up with that loved one and share what the rest of the day held. By the time we get home now, that loved one has already heard about your day.

Now let's add text messaging. Same rules apply with the email. No emotion behind the message because you were short with your answers, or too much emotion because you used all caps. Worse? You can say whatever you want in a text message and it makes it so you don't actually have to say it to the person, but in your mind, you did. Does that make sense? I'm starting to hate text messaging. Really hated it months ago, but now that I go out with friends and family and out to dinner...out comes the cell phone. Everyone's cell phone. Last night, I was out with friends and we all sat at a table for 10 of us and within minutes, everyone pulled out their cell phones to text message people. Um, what is wrong with simply enjoying the company you are with? Why can't the damn thing be put away? For me, in my life, I've experienced far more harm than good with the cell phone and its malicious text messaging features. There have been more arguments over the use or lack there of, of our cell phones. I'm about ready to go retro and get rid of mine. When life was less convenient, we were forced to have conversations, real conversations, with human beings, not their machines. We all get a little braver, too, don't we? We can say all the wonderful things to each other or even awful things to each other and just hit "send." I really wish some of the things that I have texted Mike, I would have told him in person so that he could see the love in my eyes when I told him how much he meant to me. I wish other people who I told to go fuck themselves would have heard the strength and anger in my voice and saw my knuckles go white. I wish that some of the late night conversations Mike and I have had via texting could have been lying next to each other, face to face, in awe of what we were feeling at that moment. It's too bad that texting can be erased, too. On the other hand, it's good because some texts are not worth seeing ever again.

Finally, MySpace and Facebook. They're gonna get it too. While I, like several others, have a small addiction to going to my MySpace page to update my mood and look at friends' moods and pictures, it has again, become a form of technology to remove the person from the relationship. Again, does that make sense? Instead of calling a friend and ask them how they're doing, we simply look on MySpace and see that they just got out of church and can't wait to see their boyfriend. Sounds like a good day. We also get to see how awful people's lives are on their moods. What do a lot of us do? We either send a comment on their page, email them a message, or we might go as far as sending a text message to see what's up. Can you see why this has all started to bug me? Hasn't it been brought to your own attention how weird we all interact now? We're not as nice to one another. Why? Because technology has taught us to communicate without some of our most vital ways of communicating. Voice inflection, hand gestures, facial expressions. They are so important and yet, seemingly so inconvenient.

While I clearly am complaining in the moment now, do I necessarily see myself getting rid of these devices? Honestly, I don't know. I do use them regularly and am as much to blame as the rest of society, but I'm a person, not a machine, and those I communicate are the same. I want to have the human element back in my life one way or another. If that means getting rid of my MySpace and Facebook, I will. If you want to see pictures of me and my daughter, perhaps I'll mail some off or you can stop by. I don't know. If you want to know how I'm doing, give me a call. Or, sit down with me over coffee or dinner and ask.

Next time you go to the mall, check out all the teens who are texting or are on their cell phones. Do they walk by people and smile at them? Do they ignore one another while sitting together so they can be on their phone? And need I say anything about how certain generations communicate with those that are older. Quite a bit different than what we all grew up with, huh? (But I've already blogged about that)

I won't get rid of my blog, as the purpose it served and serves are to share life experiences and lessons learned. The blog is used on the information highway and that is what I provide. The internet I'm fine with, because it's just a tool that is meant to provide info.

Okay, I sound like an old lady now...but eh, whatever.

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