Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Hidden Matrix

I think one of the many problems with all of our modern ways of communication is that it makes it too easy to feel deceptively close to lots of people, without the actual time commitment that a "real life" friendship takes. Before email, Facebooks, blogs, texting and even the "old-fashioned" telephone, people made the effort to spend time together. Letter writing was just a way to keep up with friends and family while they were away; when they were once more in the same town, they would visit in person again. 

There's something about speaking in person that forges true bonds of friendship. I've been told that 85% of human communication is non-verbal, and I believe that's an important part of knowing another person. On Facebook, you might be reading my words, and finding out what I did today, but how does that help you really know me? Facebook might be a good way to keep up with distant friends, or share things like digital pictures or links that you think are important, but I think technology is beginning to take the place of real personal relationships. 

Friendships that are built on too much impersonal communication seem to have shakier foundations to me; and I can tell when I haven't spent enough "face time" with my close friends. No matter how much information might be shared with friends over the internet, there simply isn't a substitute for real life interaction. Often, I wish that all this technological communication wasn't available, because then everyone would have to make the little extra effort to spend time with their friends and family, live and in person. 

 The most saddening part for me is when I see people who actually are with their friends in person, but they're still wrapped up in their phones, texting other people instead. It's one thing to use texting as a tool, like to say "hey, I'm going to the park, meet me there if you want!" or something, but when you can't put your phone away for more than 15 minutes, I think that's scary. 

I don't text, and I mostly use email for business. I enjoy blogging because I am making an effort to post about things that are important to me, not as a substitute for fellowship. But I am getting tired of Facebook, and how shallow and empty the interaction seems to me. I'm going to leave Facebook mostly for pictures, and a few links, and work on planning some real life fun!

So take some time to put your phone down, get off the internet and invite some of your friends to join you in the real world! It'll be worth it, I promise.

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