Communicating on Your Own Terms

Texting and IMing have definitely increased communication, but my question is: What has been lost?

It’s helpful to have the availability to be in constant contact with family and friends, but with over-communication through technology, we often create unnecessary anxiety. Why didn’t this friend/significant other/parent/child get right back to us? What if they misunderstood our quick comment? What if they are driving and feel they have to answer? What did their message mean? Were they trying to be funny? Sarcastic? Nasty? And, what if you left your Smartphone home or were temporarily out of range of reception?

I have to take a deep breath here—I’m getting anxious just thinking about it.  As someone who is considered a “Digital Immigrant,” or one who was not born into existing technology, I always decide if I want to adopt new ways of communicating through technology.  I tried texting (love it), IMing (use it at work), Facebook (bored by it) and LinkedIn (joined but haven’t found the time to log on).  This is where conscious individual choice can help those overwhelmed by these communication platforms.  What do you get out of each? Is it valuable to you or worth the time?

According to the Pew Research Center, texting is up by 600 percent in three years. With that large increase, we shouldn’t have any communication gap or loneliness; yet we do.  Maybe that’s because we’re foregoing precious time communicating with ourselves, rather than being constantly in touch with others. With loved ones and millions of strangers just one touch of a screen away, we have forgotten the importance of time to sit quietly, think, rest, and just be comfortable with ourselves.

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3 Comments »

 
  • Nicole Wittenburg says:

    Janet,

    I agree that the increase of technology seems to have come at a price. What are we losing? Although texting provides constant communication, there is a disconnect involved as well. It can become impersonal and isolating having only your phone for company. However, there are many advantages as well, and I think that’s where the choice comes in. You need to be aware of yourself. It’s important to know what kind of technology is right for you, and what will be too overwhelming.

  • Kristen Anderson says:

    Janet,

    Yes, you are so right that people should individually decide what modes of technology they want to use for communicating and not just follow the trends. And, more to your point, we need to remember ourselves. We are so thoroughly reliant on technology that, in a sense, we have become codependent on it. I grew up without cellphones or the internet and can’t remember what that world was like even. It wasn’t that long ago though. Now, the thought of having a moment away from technology to relax with only our own thoughts and maybe a movie or book seems impossible…maybe even scary. I personally sometimes feel selfish when I shut myself off from technology for a bit because doing so means I’m purposely ignoring texts, emails, facebook messages, etc. for a while. I know I have no reason to feel guilty, yet the high emphasis on staying connected makes it hard to remember it’s okay to unplug the world for a bit.

  • Hi Janet,

    I agree with you and I think that people tend to get too attached to a certain way of communication, which can be problematic in a way that when they do so, they somehow have more chance of misunderstanding with others. For example, when you put :) or 😉 it has different connotation in different sentences, but If someone doesn’t get It, he/she could get mad at you.

    Isolation becomes normal nowadays especially among young people and I think every one should try to use their gadgets as moderate as they could :)

 

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