The other night
The other nightI was out with a friend who misplaced her phone in the bottomless thing she calls a purse. After she searched for a while I decided to call her phone so either the ringing or the illuminated screen would help her locate it. Sure enough it did. As she pulled the momentarily misplaced Blackberry out, she looked at the screen, smiled and said, “That’s a name I don’t see on my caller ID very often.”
“But we text back and forth all the time.”
“Texting doesn’t count, you hardly ever pick up the phone and call me.”
“Fair enough. But at least we have good conversations when we’re face to face.”
“Yes, thank, God.”
As my friend and I got wrapped up in actual conversation and a couple after work drinks (yeah, I’ve finally partaken in a handful of drinks since ending my fast, sue me) I forgot about the above exchange. But as I was coming back from the swim class this past weekend, I saw an ad that reminded me of the topic of texting vs. talking. It was a Dentyne campaign called “Make Face Time” that promotes the idea of getting off the computer and Blackberry and having actual face-to-face interaction. The billboard that caught my eye on the train was a picture of a man and woman kissing, accompanied by the words, “Original Instant Message.” Not sure what all the human contact has to do with Dentyne, but the general philosophy behind the campaign sends a good message.
See, the more technology we acquire the less personal we become as a society. With IM, iChat, Twitter, email, Blackberries, texts, FaceBook, MySpace and a host of other technological marvels at our disposal, we have less reason or actual need to talk directly to one another because we now have the ability to communicate electronically from all over the world.
I know I’m a notorious IMer that keeps up with people electronically more than I do on the phone. What’s sad, though, is the other day I realized I hadn’t been in touch with one of my good friends in a few weeks, but instead of picking up the phone and calling, I searched for her on IM. She wasn’t online so I figured she was busy and I didn’t bother reaching out until she popped up on my buddy list two days later. SMH. Is this what we’ve come to? Digital over dialogue?
My typical excuse for using electronic means of communication more frequently is it allows me to multi-task while still keeping up the appearance of personal interaction with friends and acquaintances. See, when I’m on the phone I step away from the computer, mute the TV and turn down any music so that there are no outside elements to distract me from the conversation. The problem is I actually talk a lot once I get going and long phone conversations don’t always mesh well with my work schedule—especially when I’m on deadline. So I’ve found that it’s much easier for me to text or IM with someone while editing a blog/article or searching for pics online. But how good of a conversation can I really have if I’m doing a million other things at the same time, and tossing out random LOL’s and K’s as placeholders for actual dialogue?
Texting is no different. When you actually think about it, it’s kinda lame to spend hours trading key strokes on your phone instead of just pressing the ten-numbered sequence that would complete the call and probably get wrapped up quicker than your endless and impersonal text-athon. And is just me, or does it seem like phones nowadays have so many functions that focus on doing everything else but making calls? There are cameras, Internet, IM, email, Bluetooth and a host of other functions that make phones everything else but devices designed to help two (or more) people have direct contact with one another.
It’s like what was supposed to bring us as a people closer together has ultimately brought us farther apart. That’s felt most in the world of dating. You’d be hard pressed to find two people actually talking into the early morning on the phone today. Now it’s all about texting, IMing and emailing, which starts to get annoying and a tad passive aggressive. Rather than live in the moment, people would rather pick and chose their words and aimlessly spew them at their intended target with no real regard for the lost art of courtship. I for one am growing tired of the shenanigans. I think it’s time to put down the phones, step away from the buddy lists and truly reach out and touch someone. Not via text message, not via instant message but actual interaction. Because I don’t want to wind up a distant memory on someone’s caller ID that only dials their number to help locate their misplaced phone. I think I’m finally getting the message: Talking is way better than texting, so pick up your phone, it’s me.
What’s do you guys/gals think about this texting/IMing phenomenon? Have we lost the art of true courtship in dating? Do you have text relationships with someone that only communicates with you via short digital messages? Is there any hope for dating in this digital world? What’s on your mind?
Speak your piece…
*This blog post is sponsored by Dentyne (LOL)