Friday, September 3, 2010

Hit me with a text...

It's a tradition among my friends and I that we go camping together several times a summer. It's usually Memorial Day, Labor Day, and several weekends throughout the summer. This year, we've had some crazy weather and even crazier schedules, so we really haven't gotten to go.

Well, it's Labor Day Weekend and we're going.

I love camping. I mean, I LOVE camping. I have every piece of camping gear needed to outfit me and about 4 of my closest friends, and nothing makes me happier than getting out in the middle of the trees, smelling the aroma of a campfire, cracking open a beer and sitting around for some good conversation with friends I've known for years and yet rarely get to see.

But just to keep things interesting, my ex-boyfriend is going.He's been among my circle of friends for years, so this isn't an unexpected thing. We've dated twice - the first breakup was my doing. The second breakup, he did. By text message. Yes, you read that right. Text fricking message. To make it worse, about 20 minutes prior, I had come home from work to find my dog dead in her kennel. (Which, in fairness, he didn't know about).  To say I was a wreck was an understatement. But, the breakup is not the point. We're adults, we've moved on, and it's all water under the bridge at this point.

It still got me thinking, though. We're living in an area of instant gratification. We make friends and enemies with the click of a button. There's no longer a need for face to face contact, no building up of personal connections, no waiting and pacing over trying to find the right time, place or words to say. We write emails and expect answers within minutes, and we send text messages in an effort to keep the lines of communication open, yet short and sweet.

What have we gained by living this way? Certainly, it's a lot more convenient for me to send a quick text message to my roommate while she's at work and remind her to pick up toilet paper and dog food on the way home. I can email the cousin who lives in another time zone and not have to worry about waking her up with a too-late phone call.

But what has been the cost of all this convenience? I guess this is my question of the day, and I'd love to hear your insight. Twitter, Tumblr, FB, Text Messaging, it's all a part of our everyday life and integrated into our daily activities. What's been the best improvement in your life as a result? What have you lost?


  1. Technology has kept me from being isolated. When we lived in the middle of nowhere, it helped me stay connected with my family and helped me make some great friends. Heck, without it I wouldn't have you. Anyway, there are downsides to it. We've discussed before how you don't know the intent or inflection of the instant messaged word. I think this is a big drawback and can cause conflict that is eliminated when you talk face to face. So, I love that technology keeps me in touch with those I care about, but it causes it's fair share of trouble too.

  2. I agree with you. Technology has made it a lot easier for me to keep contacts on both sides of the US. My family, extended and otherwise, regularly uses Skype and Facebook to keep everyone informed of family info.

    But the drawbacks are exactly like you've stated - You can't tell what tone is being used to convey a written message, and I know that we've both been on the wrong side of many misunderstandings as a result. It's a challenge to find that happy medium of using technology as a tool and not a sole means of communication. :-)


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