Please enter your password. I type in my voicemail password. The following message will be deleted from your mailbox. Your message from (phone number is read aloud in slow, monotonous voice) sent (date) at (time) Eastern time… Finally, the voicemail plays.
It’s my roommate.
Give me a call when you have a chance.
I sigh. I went through all that just to have her tell me to call her? Why didn’t she just text me? She knew I was in class anyways.
In this digital age, many people would consider texting to be the fastest and most efficient way to communicate. In many ways, I agree. Living on a college campus in a city means that I’m constantly surrounded by noise. When I pick up the phone, I can’t always hear the person who I’m talking to or they can’t hear me, because somewhere my voice (or theirs) is lost among the hundreds of other voices and sounds swirling around me. Hence, I text.
I’m sitting in a meeting with some of my fellow coworkers, and I need some bit of information from someone who isn’t there. Rather than calling him, I can text him while still keeping the meeting on track.
My friend is sitting in class, and I know he can’t answer his phone right now. But I really do need to know what time his soccer practice gets over with. I immediately shoot him a text, knowing that he’ll respond once he class is dismissed.
I love texting, but more than texting, I love a good phone call. Even better is a face-to-face conversation.
Emojis are great. Really, they are. I love exclamation marks, but my finger gets tired of hitting the exclamation button 10 times just so my friend knows I’m excited for her. But an excited emoji face is nothing compared to my friend hearing that I’m actually excited for her. After all, I can most certainly fake happiness through the mask of emojis.
I have to break some bad news to one of my students. The last place I’m going to do it is over text.
Sarcasm runs in my veins. It usually comes out as funny in person. Unfortunately, over text, it can come across as mean or condescending… or the person I’m talking to could think I’m being completely serious. Ouch.
Perhaps you think I’m underestimating the awesomeness of The Screen. Perhaps I am. But what I am also aware of us is the fact that we’re actually becoming more disconnected the more digitally connected we become.
At church, many of my students hide behind their iPhones rather than interacting with people they don’t know. They are literally being given the opportunity to make new friends but choose to hide behind texting old or current friends to avoid the supposed awkwardness of making new friends.
High school students today are becoming great web designers and software developers, but yet, they hide behind the screens that texting and email provide them with. One day, they are going to have a face-to-face interview with a hiring committee, and who knows what’s going to happen then.
I think you are so right that digital communication is actually disconnecting many people. So much of the digital ‘communication’ is meaningless, and so many of the ‘friends’ are not really friends.