Does anyone else feel like, somehow, the most significant moments of life have been reduced to Facebook statuses, twitter “tweets”, or text messages? In the past, my family was great at calling each other for birthdays We’d all crowd around the phone and sing “Happy Birthday” and tell the birthday boy or girl, in our own voices, how much we love them and how we were wishing them a special day. It wasn’t quite the same as being together but with 1000 miles between us it was the best we could do. When new babies were coming we would anxiously await the phone call that baby had arrived safely. We would ohhh and ahhh at the newborn baby sounds in the background as we spoke with the new mother. Again, a real live visit, complete with snuggling and kissing, would have been better but at least the phone call was personal, time consuming, and conducive to sharing joy and excitement. We used to celebrate victories, triumphs, and even loose teeth with phone calls and conversations and time spent together. Nowadays, no one sends birthday cards, no one calls to talk to each other, no one takes anymore time out of their busy schedule than it takes to type a few abbreviations into their cell phone (probably while simultaneously driving their car or grocery shopping) to share in the lives of loved ones. It really upsets me, though I, too, have taken the impersonal, “easy” way out by wishing happy birthday through Facebook, and congratulating successes by “writing on the walls” of those I care about.
What is wrong with us that we cannot make real communication a priority? Why do we settle for “soundbytes” instead of heart-to-hearts, and cryptic initials (think bff, lol) instead of heartfelt words of love or encouragement? Relationships are suffering and families are distant and I think it has a lot to do with all the great tools of communication we have at our disposal. Relationships take time, communication is not supposed to be quick and easy. Talking to those we care about should never be seen as an obligation or a chore. If we cannot take the time to tell our family and friends that they matter to us than we cannot expect to have any strong ties in this world. Loneliness is inevitable if our only means of communication involve cell phones, and notebook computers, and the other person need not even be present.
I am so saddened by the loss of real communication. Conversation is an art and we are losing it! I recently “quit” Facebook. I took a few weeks off to re-assess the place it holds in my life. I found it quite freeing to be away from the world of cyber-“communication”. I liked not feeling like I had to check my page every few hours and see if anyone had anything to tell me or ask me, or see if anything monumental had happened in the lives of my friends. I did not miss Facebook. But, I did miss people. I did miss my friends and I realized that, unfortunately, without Facebook (I do not text or tweet) I had no communication with many of them. So I went back. I decided to settle for status updates and brief comments rather than real conversation because it seems it is the only option available these days. But, though I am back, I’m still sort of missing my friends and family….