While today’s topic has nothing to do with bathrooms and phone booths, I thought it was funny when my Aunt said it, so I decided to use it as a title. Today’s topic is as far away from the topic of bathrooms as possible it’s more about Social media and how I can’t seem to live without it.
When I think about how far technology has come in the past twenty five years it makes me laugh. In fact, it often reminds of a time when I was 18 and I was babysitting my boss’ son, Zak. Zak at the time was about 3 or 4.
This was the time of the old “bag phones”.
Remember these…they were a complete hassle and only the wealthiest of the wealthy had them. Or those with the largest of egos…
Anyphone…Zak and I were out and about when I needed to stop and call his mom and dad. As we were looking for the nearest gas station to find a payphone Zak so innocently said “why don’t you just use your phone?” My first thought was “well only rich people like your parents can afford that phone”. Then I decided I should just let him know how normal people live.
I said, “Zak, honey, not everyone can afford the bag phone, just like only a few people can afford cars with automatic windows. Most of us can’t afford bag phones and have ‘armstrong windows’ (you know the ones where you actually have to crank the shaft to get the windows down).” So we get to Zak’s house later that day and he goes running into the arms of his mom and dad and immediately says, “daddy, you don’t pay Miss Julie enough, she can’t afford a bag phone or a car without Armstrong windows”.
Needless to say his parents were a little puzzled and my face turned beet red.
But the moral to the story is, at that time, I lived perfectly content, without a “cell phone”. Now jump ahead almost twenty years.
In the midst of all this new technology, I struggle to get by without texting and feel lost on days that I don’t change my FaceBook status. I have been forced to embrace more and more methods of digital social networking over the years. This has made me, in a sense, mourn the loss of the human connection. The world is smaller than it has ever been and we are connected more than ever. We can chat with our friends at work and interact with people all over the world at the touch of a finger. Yet, we are the lonliest people group ever. We chat with people all day long on our computers yet we know no one in our neighborhoods.
Just yesterday, I made the mental note to email my neighbor Jodi about her son’s birthday party this weekend instead of going outside and striking up a conversation with her. It’s sad. I’m not proud!
This makes me sad. While my preferred method of communication is texting, I miss the excitement of getting to know someone, face to face. The minute I know the first and last name of someone I am going on a date with, I google them. I’m sure they do the same with me. But my question is this, what ever happened to the days when everyone knew everyone? You could walk into the local restaurant, library, or gas station and learn nearly everything you wanted to know about your pending date.
Now we no longer date the average Joe in our neighborhood. Instead we search online for our long lost loves, for our soul mates, for our future. We rate our status by how long our friends list is on FaceBook. And we share our life stories through the blogging network in hopes to make people laugh, share our dreams, or maybe, just maybe help someone in need along the way.
Technology makes me long for the days of my youth when things were much simpler, when we actually talked to our friends face to face. There was no texting, no IMing and no social networking. I long for the days when face to face introductions was the commonplace. And first dates were much more exciting because we didn’t know anything more than what our friends told us.
Ahhhh…memories! It makes me wonder what my kids will be saying in 20 years. Will we be hopping in our flying cars and putting on our space suits while avoiding our neighbors in the next air chamber over?