Can you imagine having to wait a day or more to talk to a friend or family member? It’s now easier than ever to strike up a conversation with anyone at any time thanks to modern technology. Social media and cell phones have made it possible to communicate with anyone in an instant and on the surface this seems to be nothing but a good thing, but is it possible that these advances have done more bad than good? Has growing up being constantly connected to everyone around us made us take them for granted?
The other day I was visiting some friends and during my visit, one of them was sitting down and sending out belated Christmas cards. As she was writing in the addresses for all these people, she questioned why we still write out cards every year. She was saying this sarcastically of course, but it did get me thinking of the value of a meaningful message; One that takes more than ten seconds and requires more effort than a few taps of our thumbs.
We still value a nice handwritten note, and why? Because it means whoever wrote it took the time to carefully write out their thoughts the old fashioned way, slow and steady. It means they took the effort of taking their time writing, finding an envelope and stamp, and going out to mail it. To some, this is outdated and pointless, but to anyone that is the least bit sentimental, it means a hell of a lot more than a text or a Facebook message.
Speaking of Facebook, let’s take the focus off from snail mail and onto social media. I’m on Facebook, you’re on Facebook, our grandmothers are on Facebook..hell, more than likely your place of business is on Facebook. It’s everywhere now and it is here to stay. And what’s not to love? It’s a social hub that connects you to everyone and everything that you know and love.. but that is exactly where it is destructive. With our ability to stay in constant communication with other people, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have made us taken peoples’ availability for granted and have made conversation much less meaningful. Sometimes I find myself at a loss for words when I run into someone I haven’t seen in awhile because either A) I already know how they’ve been thanks to the internet, or B) We’ve already chatted so much online that now when conversation really matters in person, we have nothing left to say.
They say body language is something like 60-80% of conversation and that’s all lost when we talk to people solely through social media. Like all things, conversing through social media should be in moderation. Don’t forget to spend time in person with people too when you can, and try not to take anyone’s time for granted!
This is one of many segments on social technology I will be writing about this week, so stay tuned for more!