Technology has made even our personal lives impersonal. I spent my college years having long conversations in the wee hours with high school friends who attended colleges/universities in other cities or states. I use to write those same friends long letters that compiled weeks of goings on into 20 or so pages of heartfelt prose. I sent birthday cards, get-well cards, miss you cards and cards just to say hello, those were the good ole days. Introduce Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and Email, who needs a conversation or a handwritten note with a smartphone it all at your fingertips. Our society the most connected/disconnected society, we are no longer personal and in many cases, we are not personable. Technology has made it easy to ignore people, easy to disengage, easy to have surface relationships.
I miss the good ole days, when you could not get passive aggressive in emails, hide someone on Facebook or just unfriend them with a click or just hit ignore and move on. I do not count my birthday greetings on Facebook, I do not tweet, I blog because it is cathartic (writing in my real passion, pen and paper baby), and email is unavoidable. I know my relationships were more authentic before technology crept in, I know I have to best relationships with people I am in real conversation with on a consistent basis. If I cannot remember the last time I had a real conversation with someone it is safe to say they are probably not a friend or a nicer term would be they are a distant friend. Relationships require nurturing, time, watering, and heartfelt conversation.
I am struggling with just how distant societal communication has become there are countless reports of lonely people with 1,000 FB friends and tweeter followers meeting some untimely end. Social networks and electronic communication are seemingly very anti-social, the allow bullies to hide and still spew venom; they allow people to be nasty, passive aggressive and abusive without having to have the “confrontation.” I find it all sadly amusing.
I am not sure what the solution is; I think we need a communication revolution. On Tuesday, I introduced myself to a stranger, we had struck up a conversation on the way to the parking lot after work, and I paused and gave her my first and last name. What happened next was sheer wonderment. I have since learned that this stranger and I have distant friends, former colleagues in common and it many ways she was not a stranger at all. On Wednesday, instead sending an email to handle a work problem, I made a telephone call that allowed me the unanticipated opportunity to bless the receiver of my call. She needed encouragement, and I got the chance to be the encourager.
I do not like the way the world is communicating with me, so I am going to change the way I communicate with the world, one moment, and one opportunity at a time.