I thought that eliminating all forms of social media and texting would make my week with the people in my life more meaningful. Face to face communication would be uninterrupted by text messages buzzing in my purse. Calling people on the phone and actually hearing their voice would be more quality than four hour long text message conversations that could be accomplished in a four-minute conversation of the phone. I thought that at the end of the week I would write this amazing blog about how virtual communication is bad and how we need to go back to the way things used to be: simple, personal and quality.
But that is not how my week went.
I felt disconnected, literally and figuratively. I realized half way through my first day that a week without texting was going to be a week with an inactive phone, because it turns out I text way more than I thought. I also realized that a week without facebook the week before finals made procrastination a lot less fun. I only talked to a handful of people on the phone and when we did talk the conversations never lasted long. When I got a text I forced myself to delete it before I was tempted to read it. So needless to say, my week was very quiet.
The funny thing about this challenge was how unaware I was of the struggles I would face without texting or facebook. I mindlessly log onto facebook or send out a text with out even thinking about it. More than once this week I opened my computer and began logging onto facebook only to quickly realize I wasn’t supposed to be on it. The same thing happened with texting, I would begin typing out a message and I’d have to stop myself. I even had a bad dream that I forgot about my challenge.
I had absolutely no idea how much I depend on texting and facebook as a means for connection. And admitting that I rely on impersonal forms of communication to connect with my friends, loved ones and family scares me. A lot.
It scares me because I love people, I want to connect in genuine and meaningful ways. I want to keep in touch and reassure the people I love that I do, in fact, love them. A text message or facebook wall post just doesn’t seem to be enough.
On the other side of this texting and facebook are convenient. It’s quick, it gets to the point and it can be done on your own time.
So now I’m stuck in this tension. On one hand I believe that emails, texting and social media like facebook take an important element away from creating and nurturing relationships. On the other I believe that texting and facebook are so integrated into how we function as a society that they’ve become very useful and efficient forms of communication.
So where do I go from here?
I think that the challenges where something that I depend on is taken away, like food (well… good food: vegan week), drinking, my car, and makeup are very important personal challenges because they make me aware. I’m getting to something, but I’m not quiet sure what yet. So, like so many of these blogs end: I’m working on figuring this out.
And I’m satisfied with that because it will lead me to more opportunities to learn.