I still remember the days of the rotary telephone; the big, loud, dingy yellow behemoth that sat screwed to the wall of my parents home. The cord, if I remember right, was a good 100 feet long and stretched all around the house it seemed. My how far we’ve come in just a few decades in this sphere of communication.
Before the days of caller I.D., cellphones, text messaging, working Internet, Facebook, Twitter and all the various social networking sites, people actually socialized with others in person. Though this is still a common practice of course, I wonder how truly connected we are with all of our so-called connectivity devices and technological advancement.
It seems that the top chosen method of communication is via text messaging. And, if you think about this concept, it makes little sense. Though text messaging is convenient when you’re unable to answer a call, or don’t feel like talking, it is so much easier to pick up the phone and talk rather than type out every letter of every word. You cannot tell much emotion from text, nor can you discern sarcasm. In many ways, the context of the message can askew the reader, leaving him or her wondering your main point or taking a message the wrong way.
I am a champion at messaging and networking. It is beneficial to being a freelance writer. But the point here is the simple thought that with all of our technology, is it bringing us closer together or is it deadening the human experience?
People are social creatures, so this is natural to evolve a more advanced form of socializing. But the one-on-one contact is slowly waning. More and more people sit at their computer or stare at their phones for many hours of the day. You may have 1,000 friends on Facebook, but how many do you know, and how many do you actually talk to? Would you, in reality, even be friends with these people?
I fear that the human race is becoming both disconnected with nature and now with each other. Though the networks and technology have fruitful benefits, maintaining communication and physical contact with one another is what we desire most. Sending a smiley face may be nice, but, nothing can replace the touch of a human hand, or the sight of a smile and laughter in person.
The sphere of communication can be traveled in many ways; through direct contact, or not. As long as we have miles of cable and satellites, these methods will continue to grow and evolve.
We should all use technology to our advantage and not fear it. I agree it makes living more comfortable and, at times, interesting. Just remember not to become dependent on these means of alternative communication. Take the time to visit, be personal, intimate and hold one another in loving embrace. The spirit desires these simple expressions of existence; simple loving gestures.
Nobody knows what tomorrow brings. One day, we may be right back at smoke signals.
45 thoughts on “Socialize Me”
I just can’t even agree with you more. And I am so guilty of this disconnect myself.
I have written about this very same subject twice in the last couple months, http://janiswings.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/cell-phones-are-ruining-my-memory-of-childhood/ and http://janiswings.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/a-casual-observation-about-teenagers-in-the-pdxcouv-area/
You should read them and let me know your take. I’d appreciate a male perspective.
What you write is so true. Yet, let’s face it people thought the phone was heresy. I particularly don’t like the “like” button in many instances. For example, someone will post on their Facebook page that their mom died and “friends” will click “like” to show their sympathy. I understand that they’re acknowledging their friend by doing this, but it just seems odd. They don’t actually “like” that their mother died. Anyway I did like your post very much and decided to do more than just click the “like” button (although I did that too).
That and the telegraph was looked at as witchcraft. I’m definitely not even slightly suggesting that we go back to the days of the pony express. But physical contact and communication should be a priority.
Most definitely…I rely way too much on technology and then wonder why I get to feeling lonely! By the number of comments you’ve definitely struck a chord. Thanks for the thoughtful post.
Very good points, and a subject not discussed often enough….your fear is being realized moment by moment, and it’s getting hard to tell how far the human spirit will be degraded at this point…. You might enjoy reading, if you haven’t, a book of poetry by Richard Brautigan, a West Coast poet who was at its peak of popularity in the 60’s and 70’s. The book’s title is taken from one of the poems inside, called “All watched over by machines of loving grace” Hauntingly beautiful and eerily prophetic, his poems challenged the established societal box of thought to the point of bursting. I’m not sure where you can find it, but Google will probably know…. well done post, as always…..
….”his” peak of popularity, not its…. mea culpa…. 🙂
I was right… easy peasy to find…. here ’tis… http://www.brautigan.net/machines.html Enjoy!
I’m not much for it, but do okay with the “level” of what I use and how I communicate. I find it fully culturally dehumanizing. I gave up texting (mostly) and downgraded my phone. Now it just rings and calls out. 🙂 Although I’m online a lot, I’m mostly working and networking as you put it. And I do engage lots of folks regularly in a way that is gratifying enough.
I miss the yellow plasticy rotary phone that was BOLTED to the kitchen wall (only phone in the house). In those days if someone wasn’t home it just rang and rang. And if they were on the line it was busy.
What a concept eh?
i loved that phone cord … i would walk around and stretch it as far as i could …. winding it around myself as i talked … it was awesome
i am a sucker for the instant gratification of texting at times (admittedly, i like the attention factor)
what i am learning, is that the more aware and clear i am, and the more i interact with those who are sensitive to energy/empathic – often, we can feel the emotion/intent of what is being said via text, email, fb message, etc … even without the words sometimes.
Its funny that you mention that. I, too, can feel it. Sometimes before I even get the message. But obviously not everyone can.. Of course, I do have that long line of gypsy blood.. perhaps I’m just more attuned than others.
more open and aware of the interconnection of all …
it’s the oneness of being
gypsy blood is hella cool … enjoy that!
by the way, i was expecting your post when it showed up 😉
I agree with a lot about what you wrote in your post. Especially the point about taking time to spend physical intimate time with each other. That being said I have noticed that there has also been some positive things come out this new way of socializing. For me I’ve noticed its been much more than these social networking sites allowing me to stay in touch with old friends. Its been pretty amazing the new friendships/contacts/networking I have been able to do with people around the world. I feel like its making us more globally connected. I know the thought of using technology as a main way of communication makes people uncomfortable but another part of me feels like people need somehow to get over it because thats the way the world works now. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing either. Its even more exciting for me because I see people are now using social networking sites or youtube to get their truth/ message out (maybe like you are doing). Because of the information they are putting out I’ve been able to grow and in turn share what I know to someone else.
Yes I totally agree. There are many benefits and I use them too. I also know that staying personally connected is very important in an age of such an “interconnected disconnect” 🙂
I’ve been trying to tell (teach) my kids that there are some things that you just need to do in person. kids say and do the most inappropriate things now via texting, FB etc.
Remermber the bag phone, the prehistoric cell phone that weighed about 10 pounds?
Great points. I know that I personally tend to isolate myself outside of work and contact with my immediate family & texting, email, facebook – even my blog – make it easier than ever to do so. I know I’m not alone in this tendency. I rarely see friends or family anymore, and quite frankly, I’m afraid I wouldn’t recognize half of my facebook “friends” if I bumped into them at the grocery store!
I totally agree with what you wrote. It is interested that the more we try to be one with our “social networks” the more disconnected we are with everyone. When you lose or forget your cell phone. Don’t you feel as though a piece of you is missing? On that note, how many phone numbers does the average person know by heart? I think I’m one of the few that could survive without a cell phone. I know all the important numbers by heart. Great post 🙂
I hope this doesn’t show up twice. I tried to leave a comment but the page did not feel like cooperating.
I agree with you! I think we will one day be back to smoke signals. I think it NEEDS to happen. It seems we don’t know where to stop. We are getting more and more disconnected from each other. I don’t think we can keep up this pace, there is just no way.
As ever, neatly observed and well written. There’s something about the intimacy of a text though that a phone call can’t convey.
just wanted to say thanks for commending me on my poetry,
prison is hard so all I got is my talent to reachout to the
world. If you know of any places that are trust worthy that
will buy poetry?
Not sure exactly, sorry. Though I enjoy it, I don’t write poetry, but I’m sure a few markets are out there.
I am in total agreement with you. It’s called “text messaging” for a reason. It’s for sending a message – not for having a conversation. After a friend and I send three text messages on the same subject, it’s time to make a phone call.
mmmhhh … goes very well with my Post (traumatic stress) syndrome … really enjoyed what you wrote and agree, even if only via network
I couldn’t agree more. It’s ironic that even though I used to work in IT, I’m usually the last to pick up on things like social media. I still don’t text very often to this very day. I would rather hear a voice or even see them in person. BTW, the car club I’m in still uses CB radios. How’s that for a throwback?
beautifully and thoughtfully written
Being on the otherside of the pond it the word “cell phone” cracks me up! It’s just soo funny and kinda 80’s. But then we call our “cell” our “mobile”, so funny is relative 🙂
You’re right though.
On one side we are texting someone sitting in the next room but then we are communicating, interacting, networking, creating new friendships with people we have never met. Thousands of miles are now only inches away from our finger tips, which is amazing.
But the fact that my brother-in-law, who passes my front door twice daily, deemed it reasonable to post his nephews birthday card is ludicrous! (and given it got lost in the post…..mmmmmm) LOL
As ever, brilliant emotive post!
Interesting.. I find “mobile” just as peculiar. I normally just refer to it as my “phone”.. seems more practical. Funny about your bro-n-law 😉
“I fear that the human race is becoming both disconnected with nature and now with each other.”
–Yes, I wonder and worry about that sometimes, too. The thing is, the beauty of Nature to revitalizes our souls/spirits, I think, and what is Life without relationships, or Love?
Great post. Technology has its benefits but if taken too far can be very dangerous. Even text messaging can destroy humanity! We have to be careful. Thanks for checking out my page and I look forward to following yours!
Texting? I never have and never will. Why? Too impersonal.
I will e-mail if I cannot get hold of someone by phone…but there is nothing better than technology than the human voice…especially that of one who cares about you.
Technology CAN ‘go too far’…perhaps it already has?
I’m enjoying both. In my book one without the other would be an imbalance. I’m a people person; always have been, always will be. I need the physical interaction that only being in the company of others can provide. Do I enjoy technology and the advantages that it brings; certainly do. I wouldn’t be expressing myself now if it weren’t for social networking sites such as this one.
However; the points that you raise are high on my list of thoughts too. Hopefully, today’s imbalance towards technology is a similar extreme as seen during the generations of the past. Smoking was the great trouble of my early youth. Then drugs made their entrance. Fast food chains and the ‘fat’ challenge they have created are a notable scenario as are the health concerns that are an extension of this. It would seem to be an inevitable fact that man needs to create an imbalance in order to then be able to see the folly that he has created. Once obvious to him, man then has the opportunity to make choices (individually and socially) based on fact. Posts such as yours, and the comments that are forthcoming, are rather uplifting and are speaking of a possible balance in the air… And yet, when this extreme finds its balance, the next challenge will find its way to the forefront and off we shall all go again…Such is life as a human being…. Not being a pessimist; just a realist…. Thanks for a good read…
BRILLIANT POST!!! I especially like: “I fear that the human race is becoming both disconnected with nature and now with each other.” Because I am allergic to scents/chemicals and the only person I know who is willing to go scent-free is my husband, I depend on technology for most of my “social” interactions. However, if my health was fine, I wouldn’t even be on Facebook — my focus would be on face-to-face interactions. Also, through Facebook I became friends with a person from another country. I thought things were great, but the more I got to know her, the more I realized that she was not someone I felt comfortable with. If we had an in-person relationship, my instincts would have kicked in immediately. Ending that relationship was very messy.
We’re in a state of transition, it seems. I agree with your concerns. However, I’ve also been courting new ideas about what our new ways for connectedness can mean for the advancement of humanity. For instance, people like you and me and all of the other bloggers here, could not begin to rally and change the nature of human consciousness if we didn’t spend a bunch of time on our computers. I’ve found much needed corroboration in the blogosphere for internal states I held for so long in isolation. People can talk about their spirit world/their internal experiences here without the bodies interfering with the transmission of the ideas. To me this is significant. So much of what is communicated or attempted to be communicated in the real world is tackled to the ground before it can reach us. The reason? Well, we assume things about people as soon as we lay eyes on them. Our unconscious minds, our cultural programing tells us to disregard what that person is saying before we even know we’ve cencored them. Online, we are able to take in the truths of so many people, people who are often ignored and silenced. This is vital to the shifting of human consciousness in the real world. I’m wondering how these alliances formed in a disembodied place, such as the blogosphere, can begin to change how we function in our actual bodies in the real world.
Im starting a chant,,, Smoke signals! Smoke Signals! I feel the same way about texting 95% of the time.
I’ve written A LOT on this issue of technology and communication. If you haven’t already read it, I strongly recommend Sherry Turkle’s latest book Alone Together. Some of her interviews, especially with young people and the elderly, are really moving, even heartbreaking.
I agree, physical contact and true face time (not just the iPhone app) are really important in our relationships. Just because you can “reach out and touch someone” doesn’t mean you actually are. Email, facebook and texting are all flat.
So absolutely true! I could not agree more. I have a cell with a keyboard, which makes texting fun, but I always tell my friends that I would rather connect in person. Sometimes they just don’t get why I would want to make the extra effort to meet face to face, so I just tell the, that since we’re gonna spend eternity together with Jesus we minus well get used to each other now:) I think we should be open with each other bat how much and what kind of time we are ok to spend communicating with technology and how much time we want to spend really being together. There is nothing more rewarding in a friendship than truly knowing the other person and being known. Only face to face investments will teach you to memorize the lines of their face, the sparkle in their eyes, the sound of their voice, the joy in their smile. If you really KNOW someone you can tell in a heartbeat if they aren’t “themselves.” You should know them so well you can “hear” them smiling when you talk on the phone. It is this kind of connecting that allows us to feel the relation to our Christ family–the connection that is deeper than blood and older than time.
I agree with you 100%. Great post!
How well you echo my own wonderings about where technology is taking the human race.
Repeatedly, during my B.A course, I am told that social networking is the wayforward if I want to further my career as I writer. However, I do feel like a fish being herded into a net and to what end?
Thanks for writing this post and sharing a concern many of us must have.
Wonderful post! I have to admit there are times I want to snatch the phone out of someone’s hands when I am talking with them and they stop to text. Instead, I just stop talking!
Hi, fantastic blog, love it. I hope you don’t mind- I mentioned it, with reference to this post, in the body of one of my posts. 🙂
Texting and emailing. It’s convenient, you read it when you can, and answer when you can. But someone’s voice and eye contact means so much more. I’m concerned that a lot of young people these days use technology as a means to avoid engaging with someone in person, face to face, and actually looking in their eyes.