Technology Zombies Part Trois: This is not Communicating.



As I mentioned in my last post, this semester comes with a multitude of projects. Many of which are to be done in groups. Group projects as a rule can be tricky but up to this point it has actually been pretty painless. I do have one small gripe however, it is less specific to the group project experience and more about phone etiquette and communication on a larger scale.

When I was in high school cell phones were not the thing, it was all about the pager/beeper. I got my first cell phone as a graduation present after high school. I did not even start texting until my second cell phone a few years later. As I have mentioned in other posts I am not a big fan of texting. I prefer speaking by phone or in person than written communication, too much can be lost in translation not to mention it is time consuming, at least for me, I am not a fast texter. I could say what I need to say much faster than I could ever type it out on my phone’s keyboard. I do see the merit in a text if you just need a quick yes or no answer on something and you are unable for some reason to call, like you are in a meeting etc.

With all of that said, I have noticed a trend that drives me a bit crazy. I know texting is popular, a lot of people seem to prefer it, that is fine. What I find annoying is when someone is texting me, not a quick “yes or no” type text, rather one that requires in depth explanation. With this I decide to call them, this requires a true conversation, and not only do they not answer but immediately after they text me again. My response is always call me when you are available to talk. They almost never do! Almost inevitably I wind up getting another text a while later saying something like, “I am free now, whats up?” Um, No.. I said CALL. So I call again, they said they were free, and again no answer but another text right after I hang up. What is that??

I bring this up because I have experienced this with more than 3 people now. One of which is an actual friend that I made a few years back at school. She is 10 years younger than me, as is everyone else that I seem to have this issue with. With her what I do now is if she wants to catch up with me via text I immediately make plans with her to meet face to face and catch up. I have known her for close to 3 years now and she has picked up the phone for me once in that time. If I didn’t like her so much this nonsense would be a deal breaker (as inflection is lost in text let me clarify, that last sentence was expressed with mild jest).

My most recent experience was especially frustrating. I was assigned a partner for a short skit to be preformed in class about “appropriate self-disclosure with a client”. My classmate and I are to develop a 1-2 minute skit that is an example of this, easy enough. I had about three ideas before I even left class. To me this requires a five minute brainstorm by phone and we are ready. The classmate and I swap numbers and agree to contact each other over the weekend. She contacts me Friday and explains she would like to get together in person to discuss our skit. I agree to this and we start going over our schedules together, all via text. At one point the convo is getting pretty involved and I decide it would be easier to just hammer things out in a quick call. No answer, shocker. Then I do not hear from her for two days. I try to call again last yesterday, no answer. Also after sending a text I receive no response. I chalk it up to it being Super Bowl Sunday and decide to wait to hear from her. This morning I check in with her through two texts and she finally gets back to me saying she has sketchy cell service and does not always receive texts. All the more reason to speak by phone. She finally agreed to answer my call and it took 30 seconds to make a plan to meet. I mean really, what a waste of energy.

I do not understand this way of communicating and find it truly lacking. Not to mention this nonsense does not fly in the “real” world. I did, on occasion, text with my executives when I worked at the hospital because they were often in meetings but you better believe that if a client or your boss calls you have to answer that phone.

Ultimately I just feel like you lose so much of the connection when communicating like this. I will always prefer to discuss serious matters in person, everyday matters are fine by phone. Let me give an example of what I mean by losing the connection… One of my best girlfriends and I talk by phone about every other week. She has a child and a crazy schedule as do I with school and the things that keep me busy. We do not get to see each other as often as I would like but these calls we have tide me over until I can spend time with her in person. I have never felt as good from a text message as I do after getting to hear her voice on a half hour phone call. We talk, we laugh and I feel like she is in the room with me. Not to mention it meas something to me that she devoted a whole half hour of her busy day just to speak with me. That is the connection. A text can never replace her laugh, it will never feel as good as hearing her voice. That is what is lost.

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