Over the weekend I had the chance to talk with an acquaintance of mine. We were speaking about interpersonal communications and how technology has made us hyper connected to each other, yet we are more out of touch to the needs of people since we don't see them as often.
I gave this topic more thought and it is so true, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy all the bells and whistles of the internet and I like staying in touch with friends of old, but I must admit that my penmanship has fallen to the wayside since I started working daily on a computer. Letters to friends and relatives not online have become more sparse, and general face to face time with people has taken a backseat to the speed of cyberspace. I think the last time I was in a library, they were using card catalogs. So much of what we do is on the internet. Moms need to text their children to come to dinner instead of yelling outside to 'come and get it.'
This digital age has taken another toll on us that we are just starting to realize. We don't know how to 'talk' to each other. Eye contact has gone out the window and we are constantly needing to fiddle with things in our hands to keep them busy when we are not typing. How many times have we opted to e-mail or text in lieu of a visit or phone call? There are conveniences, but have you ever been talking with somebody and feel differently because you can hear the tone in their voice? Have you ever heard what someone is 'not' saying?
Sometimes, we use our technology as a portal out of our current surroundings. We aren't even aware sometimes of the non-verbal message it sends when we send a text in the middle of a meeting or gathering. The reality is that cyberspace takes us away from where we are at any given moment and takes us somewhere else. Sometimes, when we text in company what we are 'not saying' is that we want to be somewhere other than where we are at that moment.
Earth Day is this Friday. We are encouraged to reflect on our impact on the environment and I would like to encourage you to do the same. In addition, I would like to challenge you to put the "PERSON" back in 'Interpersonal Communication.' Test yourself to not text or e-mail for a day, maybe two when a phone call or visit might suffice. Encourage children to look up research information the 'old fashioned way.' Talk with people face to face and smile without using emoticons. It's just for one day, but give it a try. :o)