I have a love/disturbed vibe towards email, text messaging, or social networking as a means of staying connected with friends.
It’s great because it’s so easy to crank out a few lines and zip it on over to someone. The response is also instantaneous. In either exchanging or reading a few paragraphs, a short message, or a facebook status, a person can believe that he/she is caught up with someone’s life. That gnawing guilt over being MIA or out of touch is immediately assuaged by that tiny bit of “connection” no matter how brief the interaction or the size of characters exchanged via the cyberworld.
Not to say I don’t do it. I text, I email, I gchat, I facebook, I Myspace (hardly), and I get LinkedIn. You’d be a pariah not to be somewhat tech-savvy these days. But for the love of humankind, what happened to phone calls and face to face conversations??? Remember the time when you could actually see and hear the person?
This is where I firmly believe that the closest of my friendships, the ones I truly value in keeping, are the ones where the connections are still personal. And I’ve learned to really appreciate the friends who also value quality time and put in that same effort to maintain the relationship. Whether it’s a lengthy phone conversation now and then, catching up over dinner and drinks, planning trips or city outings together, or even working out, my life feels fulfilled. It takes time, definitely. It takes reciprocity – I initiate and they initiate. And it takes effort. But that’s what it takes to build and maintain a relationship.
Yes, technology makes communication easier. But easier doesn’t always mean better.