This is a conversation that seems to come up a lot lately (at least in my life), so I have to believe it comes up in yours too - the subject of having an actual conversation as opposed to just sending an e-mail or texting. Here’s the deal: You could receive a text message that asks the following question, "What the heck did you do last night?" Now, the person sending that text may be doing so because you posted something on Facebook that said "OUCH"; you posted that because your favorite sports team just finished losing their game by a large margin. Okay, so the scenario is set, let’s play this out. You get the text, you read it Š your first thought, "what the hell does that mean, I didn’t do anything last night!" So you answer, "what was that supposed to mean?" You don’t get an answer back because that person’s battery died or they forgot their phone at home so you’re stewing on it all day, but when they do get it they read it and think, "Somebody’s being a cranky pants, I don’t need any static today so you can just go take a flying leap." Twenty words is all it took to create tension and hard feelings. Now, the next time you see that person, which is a week later, it’s a little awkward and you both approach each other with attitude or worse yet not at all.
Here’s the same scenario with a little something called a phone call. The person reading your Facebook status that says "OUCH" calls the next day and says, "Did you hurt yourself last night?" To which you reply, "NO!?!, why?" "Because you posted ‘OUCH’ on Facebook and I thought you got hurt." Now you laugh and say, "Ohhh, HAHA, no the Red Sox got their butts kicked and it was ugly." You both laugh and chat about important things like how to get to the next level of Angry Birds.
I wish I could say I’m not guilty of any of this, but I am. I use technology a lot. In fact, I just got a new smartphone the other day (the Electrify M from US Cellular), and my wife got her first smartphone (same one as I got; they were buy one get one). But here’s the thing, if it’s going on too long or if I feel I’m reading something wrong I cease and desist and I call. Social media is great, texting is wonderful, shooting someone a quick e-mail is fine, but there’s nothing like human contact; it can never be replaced (of course, I said the same thing about film and the rest as they say is history).
The new root of evil is social media and electronic messaging if used incorrectly. There’s just too much to be left for interpretation sometimes. Yes, sending a text messaging can be the easiest thing in the world. If all you want to know is what time you need to arrive somewhere, perfect, but for meaningful stuff you still gotta pick up the phone as far as I’m concerned. If someone is in a playful mood and shoots you an e-mail joking around, not knowing you just stepped out of the seventh ring of hell Š well, let’s just say the mood might be lost in the bandwidth.
But here’s the good news: There’s this old-fashioned fix that’ll work nearly every time. It’s called actual communication! Yeah, stop by and see a friend, dent their couch for a while, have them dent yours, or if you don’t have time use the very same thing that got you into trouble (your phone) and use it to make an outgoing call. What the hell is up with that?