13 November 2010


My generation is living during a very unique time. Growing up, I played outside. I had Barbie, Lite Bright, and Legos. My toys required creativity and interaction on my part, and I only spent time on the couch when I was home sick from school. The greatest “technology” of my youth was found in toys like Teddy Ruxbin, Alfie, and the Easy Bake Oven.

I used to have to carry change around for Payphones, and on more than one occasion, I had call my mom Collect. When being dropped off at the movie theatre, I had to run inside and ask what time the movie was getting out, and then actually LOOK for my parents' car. When shopping at the mall, we had to FIND each other if we split up in the same store. It seems like the dark ages, but it was really just a decade ago.

Text messaging happened in high school, and I've sadly never looked back. Now it's possible to have an entire meal {with special instructions, no less} delivered to my apartment without speaking on the phone. Despite my job as an executive assistant, I hate answering the phone. To me, it's a little like being caught off-guard. A text message or email you can answer while multi-tasking, answer later, or ignore entirely. A phone call crashes in on your day and demands your full attention.

Facebook has seemingly eliminated even the need for interaction at all. I see about 10% of my friends list on a regular basis, and many people I'd turn down a dark alley at night to avoid talking to – but still track their life through photos. This situation happened a few weeks ago: I was walking back to work from a coffee break, and realized I was walking behind a girl I had danced with for years. I mean literally, I saw this girl in a leotard and tights 5 hours a day, 5 days a week for 8 years. Evolutionarily speaking, shouldn't my first instinct be to run up to her and say hi? To greet her with a big smile and ask how she has been and what she's up to? Thanks to technology, I know not only where she lives and works, but also what she had for breakfast this morning. Instead of approaching her, I walked about 10 feet behind her {it figures she was walking in the EXACT same direction of my building} all the while praying she didn't turn around and see me. It was such a strange feeling, then. What was I avoiding? An awkward exchange? Nothing to say to each other? Old fashioned human contact?

For a social network, it sure has changed the way we communicate, though it doesn't seem for the better. I envy foreign cultures for their close-knit families, and their ability to invite friends over without any special occasion, but upon close inspection, there's nothing really stopping me from following suit. Not physically, at least.

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