I’ve always been known as a chatterbox. I was the baby that would smile at every stranger, the kindergartner that played with all the kids on the playground, the student who was elected to the student body and the adult that could have a conversation with anyone – from the person sitting next to me on the subway to the cashier at the grocery store. The truth is, I love conversation. I love talking on the phone, and I love getting together and chatting over dinner.
As an early adopter and supporter of technology, I was instantly hooked on how instant messaging and texting made it easy to connect to friends at any time. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter took it one step further – it was so easy to connect with old and new friends without even having to exchange phone numbers. I was addicted – always on my BlackBerry, which gave me instant access to email, Facebook, Twitter, text, and instant messaging.
This past weekend I realized what my phone wasn’t doing for me – taking or making phone calls. My phone was doing everything except what a phone should do. In fact, it was getting in the way of my daily face-to-face conversations. I had friends in town for a visit and during dinner all four of us were on our phones. We weren’t talking to each other because we were so busy checking our Facebook, Twitter or scores from the day’s games. I even wanted to call one of my friends to ask him a question and I realized that I didn’t have his number – so instead of calling him on my phone, I tweeted him on my phone. And to top it all off, after meeting a new group of people our good-bye sounded like this “Facebook me about next weekend.”
I realized this weekend how much conversation has changed in light of technological advancements. How do you communicate today? Is it any different than how you communicated a decade ago? And are the future generations going to be further alienated from verbal conversations?