Ever wonder about how our communications have changed since “back in the day?”
As a young boomer, I have already seen tremendous change in how people communicate. When I went to college, there was no such thing as a personal computer, the internet or cell phones! Imagine…no cell phones and no texting.
My college age sons still can’t really get their heads around that one…no texting.
How did we Neanderthals communicate back then?
Well, we didn’t…at least, we didn’t communicate as much as people do today. And I wonder…maybe that was healthier.
We wrote letters to distant friends who we knew would read the letter (and potentially even write back). We called local friends, using a landline phone, if something was time-sensitive. It had to be pretty important; otherwise we just walked to their house or waited to see them.
We didn’t (because we couldn’t) share photos of what we were eating. We didn’t video ourselves making faces or throwing signs as we waited impatiently at the dentist’s office (again, because we…quite thankfully…didn’t have the ability to do so). We couldn’t text people emojis or funny videos just because we had nothing better to do at that particular moment.
Yes, communication was less about filling idle time and entertaining ourselves…and more about actually communicating!
Back then, we didn’t keep in touch with hundreds of friends…or other people…on a daily (or more frequent!) basis. And that was ok…somehow the species survived, and somehow I kept in touch (and am still friends with) those in my life that really mattered from my youth.
Today I think people are all coming down with a sort of Attention Deficit Disorder. I refer to it as TMITD (Too Much Info Texting Disorder). People have seemingly lost the ability to patiently sit or chat politely with a stranger while awaiting an appointment. We have lost the ability to read a book or look out a window and enjoy a moment of quiet.
Our brains are becoming so wired to interact constantly with our phones (versus the loved one sitting across the dinner table) that we are simply not able to keep generating important or interesting content…instead, we just text whatever is on our mind (or that photo of our food). It keeps us from fidgeting, from being bored, from self-reflection…from actually communicating face to face!
Texting has become America’s favorite pastime…I am amazed at how quickly my sons can type on their phones; they don’t even need to look at the screen (this will come in handy if they are ever kidnapped and thrown into a dark trunk, for example). And they can – and often do – have multiple texting “conversations” going at the same time…
When I see them speedily texting I can almost visualize all those neurons firing crazily in their brains while hearing the tapping of the keys on their phone…all of that processing power wasted on nonsensical commentary. If we could only tap that power for something useful, like generating electricity!
Yet, even with all of this constant texting, for some reason, MY texts do not seem to be viewed by my kids as a priority, which I think they should be…
Are my “text-pectations” incorrect? I do, after all, pay for the cellular plan they are using. Do you other parents find this to be true? Kids not responding (yet, when they text me wanting something they think I’ve died if I haven’t responded back in 60 seconds!)
I often ask them about this, “Why don’t you respond to my texts more quickly”? MY texts after all, are important communications. I want to remind them of something, or provide some update.
When I send them a text, don’t they realize I wait for a response? I know they are glued to their phones…so short of being in the shower or driving, they should be able to respond, right?
I get varied answers to my queries. My older son says he prefers to “batch” my texts and respond after he has several in such a batch. What?
My younger son says I text things that really don’t REQUIRE a response. What?
Oh, wait…I do send cat photos of our two cats (they are always doing something so incredibly cute, after all)…hmmm…and I do send emojis….hmmmm. And I do find myself trying to come up with a reason to reach out and text them (just to say hello and get verification they are in fact still alive), and I do find that texting is a great thing to do when I have some idle time…
Oh no…have I too fallen into the TMITD trap?
Oh, my. I guess I have.
Oh…so I guess you can disregard this blog…but before you go, let me show you this great cat video someone just texted…