Mobile phone communication gap? I know, sounds like an oxymoron, with our mini-computers, phones, video and conference meetings in the palm of our hands, one would think our communication would be at it’s most highest peak. You would think that our society would be ultimate communicators, right? However, I beg to differ. What made me really scratch my head was a simple observation at a poetry event that I attended recently.
The crowd was slowly forming waiting for the event to begin. The music was playing, and groups of so-called friends and couples sat together at the round tables sipping on their after-hour beverages. The setting was perfect to catch up on some ‘what’s happening in your life news’, the latest gossip, venting about your jerky boyfriend, or flirting with your date. Well, instead of talking to one another, I saw thumbs typing furiously away to their other friend, much more POPULAR FRIEND, you got it…their MOBILE PHONE.
I had no idea that it’s gotten this bad people. Yes, I’ll admit we’ve advanced with technology. There has been a serious shift in what we call normal related to cell phone activity. When we see someone shouting and gesticulating wildling walking down the street by themselves, we no longer assume they just escaped from a mental institution! We know, oh, he’s just an obnoxious jerk on his Blue tooth, arguing with someone. Normal everyday stuff, right?
However, I didn’t realize that we’ve gone this far. That it’s actually normal, not poor taste or bad manners anymore to be on a cell phone while in company of others. Oh not, not for a quick call to check in with the baby sitter or make sure your friends are on their way, but to surf on Twitter, Facebook, Black Planet and God knows what else NON-STOP.
I chuckled as I observed the room of the poetry lounge and I mentioned it to my friends at my table who WERE actually talking to each other. We observed the room in awe. Almost every table was illuminated with flickering blue lights, people slouching in their chairs immersed in the LCD of their cells.
Of course, me being the nosey people-watcher that I am, had to ask. I thought, this will be an interesting blog post, so why not! I started making my rounds, since the show didn’t start yet. I told people they’d be featured in a blog, and all of them were more than willing to share. I first asked the popular Miami Poet, Lex, why he was on his phone texting and why does he think most people were doing it right now.
He said, “We’re trying to look busy, occupied. I’m usually just playing Bricks on my phone. Something to do.” Lo and behold he showed me his phone and he wasn’t lying! LOL Then, there were three girlfriends who came and barely spoke to each other. They sat in the corner, laughed for a few minutes and then dug in their purses to connect with their other friends on Facebook and Twitter. I asked them what they were doing that had them so involved with their phone when they had real live friends sitting next to them.
One giggled a bit embarrassed, “Oh, I was looking at Fandango trying to find some movies to go to with some other friends!”
Another said she was checking Facebook and Myspace.com.
Oh it was hilarious, they couldn’t see how strange it was? When I say not talking to each other, I am saying NO COMMUNICATION. They were just sitting together, not speaking. I just found it fascinating how people who were friends rather talk to their social networks than the flesh and blood sitting right next to them.
I went over to a few others. One sheepishly admitted she was looking for an after party to hit up. The last one I asked is the only one with a valid response. She was trying to help her lost friend find her way to the poetry spot by texting her directions.
The next evening I was in a restaurant and I saw this “mobile communication gap” again. The avid text maniacs going to town. Two girls dining together, texting, calling, and not talking to each other. It’s a travesty people!
Now, the main question is why do we do this? Was it really like Lex said, to look important, busy, or cool? Or just because were in such a fast forward society we forget to live in the now and appreciate our moments as they come as opposed to living in the future. Ya know, looking for that after party or telling people how much fun were having on Facebook at the lounge “not talking to our friends.” If they ONLY knew the fun you were really having! Come on! The irony just kills me.
At the time of writing, my Blackberry vibrated and it was a Facebook alert saying that a client posted on my wall and few friends were digging some photos I posted. I checked it without hesitation, smiling at their responses. Oh nooooooo, don’t say it. They got me too!
Are we just little puppets controlled by the need to feel wanted, to feel important, and hey… to even show off a bit. It’s about LOOKING FABULOUS, LOOKING GOOD, FEELING APPRECIATED, FEELING LIKED and trust me we are all falling for it. It’s fun, but I think we need to find a balance between the digital world and the real world.
I remember in the early 90’s when email became more popular and we couldn’t wait for an email to come in. Now, the emails we crave are Facebook, Myspace, Twitter alerts to let us know we have a new comment, bulletin, note or message.
Don’t get me wrong. I love social networking and it’s a POWERFUL vehicle to help you get your name out there. It’s help me grow my businesses tremendously. I enjoy meeting new people from all walks of life and I especially enjoy meeting my Internet friends in the FLESH! All I’m saying is if you have REAL friends, which I’m hoping you do, cherish the moment you have with them IN PERSON.
Your poor friends have been feeling neglected. When you start sending Facebook messages to your other friend in Canada, that seems like more fun RIGHT in front of them, they’re thinking, “What am I? Chop liver?” So, they pull out their cell to feel important as well and so the cycle begins. LOL Well, that’s just my theory!
Just remember to talk to your friends, listen to them, laugh with them and put your dang phone away just for a little. If you’re one of those FB/Twitter junkies or text maniacs, check yourself when you are sitting with a friend.
Let’s close this communication gap and bring it back to the basics. You know, when we actually talked to each other!
Own Your Power,