Are We Communicating Or Are We Just Connected?

We live in a technological world which we are always communicating. But are we really communicating or are we just connected? At home, families sit together, texting and reading e-mail. Last night while watching TV I looked around and saw that everyone was either texting on their iPhone or playing Words With Friends on their iPads and I’m sure that my household isn’t that much different than anyone elses.

In the workplace everyone is texting during meetings where attendees pay attention to only what interests them, then spend the rest of the meeting eyes down carefully crafting an e-mail or text to someone else, and sometimes that someone else is sitting right across the table from us.

We live 0n Facebook. Teenagers today believe that texting and maintaining eye contact with someone is communication. It’s not.

We’ve got to the point that in my home texting is not allowed at the dinner table and guess what? They’re finding that they can exist without their thumbs furiously typing messages to their friends.

I’ve told just about anyone that I know to not text me, e-mail is fine but I don’t want to have to answer to text messages. Call me old fashion, that’s just the way I am. If someone does text me I will not answer it. Period, unless it’s an emergency with my boys. We’ve become accustomed to a new way of being alone together. Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another without actually being with them. We have gotten used to the idea of being a party of one. We live in our own bubble, connected to keyboards and touch screens safely ensconced in our safe little world of connection.

In today’s workplace, young people who have grown up fearing conversation show up on the job wearing earphones. Watch as employees lay out their plethora of laptops, iPods, iPads and multiple phones. And then they put their earphones on.

In our bubble people are comforted by being in touch with a lot of people; carefully kept at an arm’s length. We keep others at distances we can control: not too close, not too far, just right. Relationships aren’t easy, they require a lot of effort, sometimes too much effort. We have learned to clean  them up with technology. And the move from conversation to connection is part of this. But it’s a process in which we shortchange ourselves. Worse, it seems that over time we stop caring, we forget that there is a difference. We are tempted to think that our  online connection adds up to a real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook,  and LinkedIn all of these have their places But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation.

Are we shortchanging ourselves by not learning to create relationships complete with communication?

I think so.

Is Texting REALLY an innovation?

20 years ago, IN DECEMBER, text messagING WAS BORN & SINCE HAS shaped our lives & careers.

It seems that this 20 year anniversary went by without any recognition….since this invention and other great inventions like “e-mail” what could you never live without in your business environment? We forget how far we’ve come sometimes, maybe we should take time to ponder what a less techy world would be like.

 I’m probably one of the few who do as little TM’ing as possible. I dislike it for a couple of reasons; what happened to face to face conversations?

Have you tried to have a conversation with a teenager today who injects “stupid,” “retarded,” “annoying.”LMAO, ROLF, BTW, and my personal favorite STFU.

The art of conversation seems to have been lost on the next generation. They’re constantly looking at a small screen, thumbs flying over the keyboard, holding TM sessions with 1-10 other TMers that seemingly last forever. Ask them what they writing about and the answer is invariably, “I dunno know.”

My friends daughter just got a new phone and she asked me to go to Verizon with her to help her pick out a phone and never in my many trips to Verizon over the years have I felt more lost than the 45 minutes she and I spent there.

Her only requirement for a PHONE was the ease of TMing. My TMing is slow, laborious and full of typos & syntax errors. her first month of owning the phone was rewarded with a call to the Verizon Support Center. It seems that she and her friend “He’s not my boyfriend” jammed her phone with over 3,000 TM’s in just 3 weeks. What in the heck can two teenagers be “talking” about that takes up
3,oo0 text messages? I wanted to ask but common sense told I wouldn’t understand anyway, so I took the safe route. 

I don’t think I talked that much to my first girlfriend during the entire 9th grade. Sorry Valerie, if we’d had Text Messaging we could have said so much more. But then again, I probably didn’t want to know what she was thinking about, nor would I have any idea what to do that information.  Trust me I was a dork all through school D-O-R-K

It’s my theory that if TMing remains a favorite form of communication man will start to evolve with 2 big ugly thumbs and the rest of their digits will proportionally reduce in size. After 200 years, we’ll be back to the caveman days with conversation. A simple grunt will be the only conversation that will emit from our mouths because our mouths will continue to reduce in size as our thumbs grow larger from lack of use. In 400 years we’ll just be two gigantic thumbs walking around looking for another pair of gigantic thumbs to text message with.

I know most of you pondered a completely different thought but I would love it if there were no TMing. If anyone does TM me, I promise you it will be days before you hear back from me.

If anyone needs to get in touch with me you can either e-mail me or use a phone for conversation purposes.