Ever see someone walk across a busy intersection absorbed in texting on his/her Smart Phone? How common is that scene (and how dangerous)? When I lived in LA the scene of a guy or girl walking obliviously down a busy street texting or doing something else on his/her Smart Phone was as common as a McDonald's on every other corner. People go to restaurants to enjoy a lovely meal and instead of conversing with each other each one's head is down and each one is absorbed in something on the Smart Phone. Bored waiting for something? Just watch a movie on your Smart Phone. Don't feel like talking to your companion, play on your Smart Phone. Forget magazines in the waiting room. Download an article.
Some of the conveniences are really great. Who doesn't want to watch a movie while waiting for something. The issue at hand is the disconnect and alienation. When I was married the TV was on 24 x 7. When I got divorced I swore to put an end to the major disconnect the flat screen invited. Now the TV in my house is off more than it's on. I've started cooking meals and learning culinary skills. We read more books. We spend more time talking about the day's events.
But I'm guilty of using technology to disconnect from loved ones and keep a safe space (or perceived safe space). I have a friend that I routinely text vs. talk to and have real conversations. Most of our friendship was built on the text. I'm not even a text-type girl. I don't like texting round the clock. Yet the nature of texting in that friendship became so common and so atypical that I find it hard to change it. We've even had arguments in text. Here's the issue: you can't hear inflection, intonation or tone. The nice thing is you can't hear a raised voice either. And if you have a tendency not to listen during arguments or talk over the person the text somewhat cures that problem. However, it's a disconnect in personal interaction. It's a cold vs. warm media.
The technology generation wouldn't find my text relationship at all disconcerting. I've heard of people having entire online relationships and never even meeting. These same people don't even care if they do meet. I was talking to a friend who told me that one. It's a slippery slope into true alienation of affection when you literally don't touch or see someone, and after experiencing the majority of my aforementioned relationship in text I understand how it happens. But at the end of the day, I will say this one: I much prefer the real thing to virtual living any day. Nothing beats hearing and seeing a hearty laugh out loud vs. a LOL. And I would much rather give my man a kiss than see a XOXO. You know what I mean?!