“Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate how you feel and misinterpret what other people mean” ~Unknown
I saw a brilliant TED talk the other day. Allison Graham gave us great insights as to why social media is making us unsocial. There seems to be always someone on the other end of the screen that is way more important than the person sitting in front of you is.
A 2013 study by Mary Meeker says that we check our phones up to 150 times per day and upload almost two billion pictures to Facebook every day. We are so focused on letting out friends know just what a great time we are having that we no longer have any face to face time with them.
We use shortened words to demonstrate our emotions.We use emoticons and emojis to show how we feel. We do not bother to spend time face to face with people to have that chaotic, messy, unstructured conversation in real time.
Rather we prefer to host that carefully edited, structured, considered piece of online text that is designed to deliver maximum impact, maximum, hurt, maximum hatred (as online trolls aim to do).
One of my single friends uses Tindr to arrange dates. Several of her potential dates are reluctant to chat on the phone. They communicate mainly on Snapchat, WhatsApp or by text. Face to face connections seem to be lowest on the priority list. If users of a dating app communicate in this way, there is not much hope for amazing online connections.
Another of my friends uses Facebook Messenger to share the private stories of her life. She talks to her Facebook friends, flares up, watches the responses, and then uses a screen grab of the conversation to message another friend to demonstrate what a poor quality friend the other person is.
Just like a “she said, I said”, type conversation, the context and the nuances of real life interactions are lost. Facial expressions are missed, tone and manner of speech are lost. We are isolating ourselves and our friends as we cannot read the verbal cues and signals that they are trying to portray.
We can no longer communicate in the way we want to and express ourselves the way we want to. And we are drowning. We no longer look up from our devices
And that is a huge shame…