My girlfriends and I are probably fairly rare in the way we communicate with each other these days. Where a lot of people in our age group text or read each other’s Facebook statuses, we call each other on the phone. Occasionally, we even write actual pen-and-paper letters. I love handwritten letters. We all send physical birthday cards, not just posting “Happy Birthday!” on their Facebook wall; one of my four girlfriends refuses to even get a Facebook account.
When we have the chance to physically be in each others’ presences, phones are to be ignored. None of us like being around people who spend, what is supposed to be quality time with another person, that time with their face in their smartphones. This is also the reason why almost every escort I know has a policy about turning off technology when on an appointment with a client, and asking that the client do the same.
I am not a technophobe. I love technology. But I don’t always like what technology does to people. There’s a book about the effect of social media and the internet in general on human interaction. On the one hand, we construct digital walls to keep people at more than an arm’s length away or to provide an electronic shield to hide behind while attacking or criticizing others you know nothing about (aka trolling). On the other hand we pull them intimately into our lives when we take pictures of what we had for lunch and make Facebook status about things that are unimportant or vague (or Vaguebooking, as it’s called). These are choices and we can certainly make the ‘Net a more civilized place, though that’s probably a losing battle. That said, I’d never want to trade constrained civility for proscriptive freedom (“gentle censorship”).
To close, take this video to heart: