Yesterday was my birthday.
I received 1 card, 1 gift, 4 phone calls … 17 text messages (1 today), 11 Facebook messages, 2 Google+ messages, 1 email and a tweet.
In this age of social media it’s not uncommon to get more digital birthday wishes than “traditional” ones, however the whole thing got me to thinking:
Are we *so* able to contact with each other through technology that we’re gradually losing our ability to connect with each other in real life?
I think so.
Before I continue, this post is in no way an indictment of those who sent me the aforementioned birthday wishes in whatever form they sent them. I am thankful for being remembered and for every single wish sent as celebration of my new year of life. I’m especially grateful because I turned off my birthday display on Facebook years ago so anyone who does wish me a happy birthday actually remembers my birthday (or at minimum put a reminder in their own personal phone, or saw someone else’s post) and didn’t just do so because they were prompted to by Zuckerburg. I’m also grateful because I’ve been sick as a dog since Sunday so yesterday was pretty much a regular Tuesday except with frequent trips to the toity and lots of other bad feels.
Happy Birthday to me.
But here’s what I wonder. As the years have rolled on it seems that more of my birthday face-to-face plans have been replaced with phone calls, and phone calls have been replaced with text messages, and text messages have been replaced with Facebook messages, and Facebook messages have been replaced with silence.
It’s almost like we expect less from each other in the realm of relationship and connection and think the quickest acknowledgement convenient for us will do. It’s no longer about the celebrated, but more about the celebrant and as little effort as possible is becoming normative and accepted.
As I saw the Happy Birthday text messages stream in, some abbreviated, some with smilies, some from family members, some from close friends, for some reason it reminded me of the time I found out my favorite uncle had died A WEEK AFTER he passed, and when I was finally told, it was said nonchalantly followed by “oh I thought you already found out on Facebook.”
Yeah, that actually happened to me.
Since I can only control myself (well and blab on this here blog to y’all), I’ve decided to challenge myself to do better.
I am going to make more effort to let the people know feel prioritized, connected to & contacted, especially on days they are to be celebrated.
I think my guide will be: The level of our relationship will determine the minimum level of our contact.
So for example if we’re Twitter friends then you may get a tweet, if we’re YouTube friends you may get a comment or even a private video, and if you can call me for bail money at 3am you’re most likely not gonna get an Instagram comment.
I realize more contact is not appealing to everyone, especially the “I’d rather text than talk” crowd, of which I may be a part time member of, but I’m gonna start with this and adjust per person as needed. I think human relationship suffers when we lean too hard on anything that’s not … well … humans.
Anyhoo … while wrapping up this post I searched online to see if someone had already expressed these thoughts better than I ever could and I found just the person!
As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.
Yeah, what she said.
What do you think? Are we less connected even though we have so many ways to connect with each other?
Oh & if this topic interests you, check out my post about my social media sabbath for more on how I’m for disconnecting to enable me to reconnect. Much love. ♡