5/17/10

the art of the written conversation


technology has changed our lives
immeasurably over the past ten years.

when i was first blossoming into a teenager,
i discovered phone conversations with my peers
that lasted longer than
"wanna come over and play?"
...then, soon came ICQ (uh-oh!)
and it's progeny, msn instant messenger.

in those days, we were able to keep in touch with
the friends we saw every day at school
during the in-between hours
before we saw each other again.

but...
today,
in the age of
email
facebook
and unlimited texting plans,
i find that many of my friendships have begun to consist
almost entirely of written conversations.
instead of making a phone call
to see how someone's doing and catch up,
we tap out a facebook message.
instead of calling a friend up
to make plans for the weekend,
we send texts back and forth.

a conversation that, in voice or in person,
would take five minutes,
ends up taking hours because our fingers don't work as fast as our vocal chords,
or we get distracted and forget to respond.
and somehow it seems less fulfilling.
there are also loads of problems with miscommunications
that occur when conducting friendships
via written formats,
especially when you are trying to talk about something deeper than
"drinks on thursday?"
and i have had one too many hurt feelings happen
because someone's words appeared to be sharper
than they had meant,
or because the shield of the computer screen allowed them
to be harsher than they would have been otherwise.

so for this reason,
i decided to close down my facebook account for a little while.
at first i was a little lost...
how would i send a mass message?
how would i keep in touch with those friends
who i only talk to via facebook?
but i decided quickly that the drawbacks
to having a life that is fully online
easily outweighed the drawbacks to having one that is not.

so i am taking a bit of a breather from social networking,
and you might have noticed that i've been posting less frequently
on curls&coffee as well.
this is not really for the same reason,
but more because i am feeling less of a need to write every day
"just because"
and instead would rather put my energy into living,
and post something meaningful
when i have something that i really want to talk about.

i'm not sure how long i'll be facebook-less,
but it's been a week so far and already i feel less busy
with keeping up with everyone that i never see in person
... and i like it.

do you ever feel overwhelmed by social networking?

19 comments:

  1. Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, Bloglovin, why would we ever be overwhelmed?
    We love you Meg, and will be excited to see you on your terms..

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  2. Definitely. I get affected by a lot of things I see or read in facebook. I understand your feelings and I want to do the same

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  3. I don't feel overwhelmed, because I don't have time or interest in unlimited texting, phones with keyboards, or twitter. I am already falling behind in technology at the ripe old age of 23...I am definitely going to be the laughingstock of my future children ! And I definitely only post on my blog when I feel compelled to share something or am in the mood. Sometimes I'd rather live in reality and get sick of being on a computer since I already am so much for school! I guess this is sort of my personality though; I am not a big chit-chatter and (especially in formal or organized settings) only feel like I should say something when I have something meaningful and worthwhile to contribute. Which is why I rarely comment on blogs unless I am going to write a paragraph ;)

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  4. I was just having this conversation (in person) with my BF who lives 10 hrs away from me. we decided to instill a phone "date night" because emailing & being on FB wasn't the same as a heart to heart spoken to a true a friend! Well said my dear!

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  5. Hi Meg,

    This is Lara. Anyways, I am rather creepy and follow blogs incessantly but at least I am admitting it...

    Anyways, due to some family stuff I shut down my facebook over five weeks ago (gasp) and it is still gone. The events that occured were a real wake up call for me in terms of how we communicate with others. I never thought it would last, but I have been left happier, feeling more fulfilled, and more connected with myself. The people who noticed I was gone (or did not) contact me anyways, and honestly, I otherwise miss the udpates but it has not left enough of a gap with me that I have a huge desire to add it back. I am considering it when I am done practicum in 6 weeks, but at the same time, why add it back when life is just as good without it?

    Keep living - I know I am feeling a lot more stable and whole and I am sure the result for yourself will be the same:)

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  6. I closed mine for awhile as it was much needed. But, did start a new one ... and it is with people I talk to on a daily basis .. it works for me. Sending you a sweet hug! xo

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  7. I have been thinking of shutting down my facebook account for a while now, even if it's just for a week.
    This post got me to finally do it and I must say it feels pretty good :)

    Love your blog!
    xx.

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  8. i definitely get you on this one. i feel overwhelmed by it all at times and have to take breathers here and there. i never want to allow it to take over... being online all the time is not living.. it can definitely suck you in and waste a lot of your precious time. i am amazed at how some people seem to never be away from sort of social networking, particularly twitter. i never want to become so attached!

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  9. I totally understand and have had the same thoughts about how our relationships have changed in light of the social media revolution. which is why I don't even have a twitter account, and while I do have a facebook, I only recently started checking it regularly and I only do that- check. if I have no message or comment, I go back to living my life! :) (no farmville for me!) blogging already takes up a lot of my time and I don't even blog every day.

    even still, I definitely need to reconnect with friends via phone or face-to-face communication. texting, messaging, and wall commenting really just doesn't compare!

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  10. I definitely get overwhelmed by social networking!! I'm not an overly chatty person really, so I like my blog because I 100% control it, but hate feeling like I need to connect with people all the time (twitter, facebook, etc).

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  11. I love this entry...I mentioned it in my latest blog entry! :)

    Lauren
    Lrstewart0711.blogspot.com

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  12. I have so many of the same thoughts and feelings about my own relationship with technology. I'm moving further and further away from wanting to be constantly connected via Twitter, Facebook, etc. And, for whatever reason, I have become less inclined to post in my blog constantly. While I try to keep up a regular schedule, I am more focused on quality than quantity. There is just SO much content and information out there on the web that it is hard to "keep up" so I've sort of given up trying. It's very liberating! :-)

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  13. You make a great point. I am slowly taking down things off facebook. Before you know it... POOF!

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  14. Oh woow I agree but being s student it feels like its the only way to keep in touch with everyone.. especially old friends who dont go to the same college as you. I am kinda embrassed to admit that I cant actually remember the sound of some of these friends voices.. =S
    .. but one day I would love to be Facebook-less and generally just text less to people :D!

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  15. I could not agree with you more and I have been talking about this with some friends and my family a lot over the years...I still write letters and Thank You cards and send them in the mail, it was how I was raised, but the actual written word has gotten so lost and I love that you blogged about this...lovely post, Meg!

    Liesl :)

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  16. i do feel over-whelmed by social networks.
    all of my friends have facebook, twitter and formspring and we are on it a lot.

    for lent this year i gave up facebook and it was so much easier than i thought it would be. i really enjoyed the fact that i wasn't constantly "stalking" people or telling people what i was doing. now, i go on there a lot less than my friends.

    i think that people need to remember that although it can be easier, it's so much better to talk in person or on the phone! i so agree with this post. :) you always write posts that i can relate to, it's great! :)

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  17. I agree with you! Nothing beats a phone call and hearing each other's voices and laughter!!! If I am close and comfy enough with a person, they can call me 24/7 (and vice versa)...I am more self aware on facebook if I talk to people that I probably wouldn't speak with in real life and sometimes here...but yes, if you know someone in reality, why not pick up the freaking phone? Although when you come home from work tired it's easier to just type and press send...

    xx

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  18. oh, I hear you! it makes me sad when I sometimes think about how my communication with friends and family has deteriorated a bit due to all the technology. and it can be so overwhelming to try to stay on top of it all! facebook! blogging! email! texting! sometimes I just want to shut it all down.

    We'll be loyally standing by for when you do feel inspired to post (although, I think they're all so darn good that they are nothing short of super inspirational!).

    take care of yourself first, meg. That way you can take care of the friends and family in your life who DO matter.

    xoxo, K

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  19. i deactivated my facebook too a week ago :D i felt just the same as you are and I TOTALLY feel free and have so much more time to do another stuff !

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