Sunday, September 22, 2013

Texting -- A Bookpuddle Rant

I firmly believe that social media is a detriment to society.
If you can pry yourself away from Facebook long enough to listen to me, we can talk about it. Maybe.
But chances, are, a text on your phone will interrupt us.
The premise, the intentions, or what have you, may have been alright -- I'll grant you that, but this is a blog-posting about my interpretation of the RESULTS, and the results are not good.
The results are a lot of people being together, but they are [to borrow Sherry Turkle's phrase] "alone together."
Always the potential of an interruption to intimacy.

Admittedly, I am a bit [no, a lot]…… of a dinosaur. A regular triceratops of not being in step with the times. It is a wonder that there are are only two horns on my head, rather than three.
I do not have a cell phone. And I've never had one. Unless it becomes some sort of "law", I probably never will have one. I hate even the idea of immediate availability.
What's the next step? A micro-chip imbedded in my head, where random people can intercept my thoughts?
Think about it.
Most of the people you associate with, from day to day, will cut you off mid-sentence to answer an incoming text message.
What has this done to what we have always considered to be one-on-one communication, not to mention issues of privacy and the basic tenets of personal intimacy? Nowadays, someone in an entirely different time zone has the potential of being more immediate than the person sitting across from you, or the person you are in bed with at night. They access you to the beat of your current favourite song, while the person in your presence is saying something that was interrupted by that opening refrain.
It is the very epitome of interpersonal violation. It is mental rape.
Social media has re-defined the word "friendship" because, in several instances, a person would rather be a "friend" to a virtual stranger, than be a friend to a real person, in real time.
In real presence.
The upshot of what has happened with our addiction to social media is that connection has created a disconnect. You will tell someone on Facebook or text-message something you would not say to the most actually significant people in your life. This can only lead, ultimately, to weaker connections with those that matter most, and greater connections to those that matter least.
Intimacy where it is not deserved, and was never meant to be directed.

If I could do one thing in this world…. much as those who desire to find a cure for cancer, and such things…. I would choose to take every mobile text-messaging device and secretly launch them into outer space --- to create a WWIII on some other planet than our own.
Our access to random communication has devolved our capacity for communication with each other -- the people whose breath you can smell as they speak to you.
This blog, in itself, is a utilization of this same technology, and I understand that. I am speaking to a random person, who is capable of a random response. The difference to me, though, is I retain the option of not responding. With many aspects of social media today, that option factor has subtly been eliminated.
We seem to be engrossed in showing affection and recognition where it is needed least.



Stefanie said...

Maybe it's because of where I work and my personality and who my friends are but I don't often run into difficulties of this sort. I resisted having a cell phone for a long time but my husband made me get one when I started riding my bike to work so I'd have it for emergencies. We didn't add texting to our phones until about two years ago and I must say I like it. It is an easy way to communicate with my husband during the day who is not easily contacted and it is nice to be able to text my mom or sister who live half a country away when I have a simple question that doesn't require a long phone conversation. So there are good things. It is how we have allowed the technology to take over our lives that is the problem. It doesn't have to be that way and it is sad how often it is.

Cipriano said...

Hi Stefanie -- yes, for these reasons you mention, cell-phone communication and texting is a completely awesome thing. In re-reading my blog on this subject I think maybe I should have been more clear about the specific usage of the technology that bothers me. For communicating with people that are close to you in relationship, [but distant at the time] I think it is a wonderful thing. I guess I was referring more to the scenario [so common] of say for instance, you and your husband sitting in a coffee shop and texting other people at the time. People actually do this, and that, to me, is sad.
Plus, primarily the way that younger people use these technologies to create "hookups" with the result of developing hundreds of superficial relationships, yet having very few, if any [really] close and genuine friendships -- I see this as a danger to society at large.

Stefanie said...

Maybe that I would never think of texting someone else while out with my husband or friends sets me apart. Maybe it's because I remember life pre-cell phone. I think you probably do too. That makes a difference. Even my 20-something nieces who are smart well-behaved young women are hooked in to an extent I would never want to be. Is this what feeling old is like? ;)