Friday, May 14, 2010

Real Conversation and Instant Communication

I was talking to my husband tonight about how disconnected we, as a society, have become. With texting came easier, faster, instant communication, but at what cost? I know most of you have read the articles or heard the experts talk about how texting has fostered an inability for teen-agers to have face-to-face conversation. This is not what I am writing about.

Lately I've been disappointed with the fact that it is getting more and more difficult to have a real conversation with another adult. By "real conversation," I mean one that is uninterrupted by a phone call or a text message. More than once I have sat in a coffee shop with a friend who has checked her phone throughout our short time together. Sure, the phone is on vibrate and it isn't ringing the whole time we talk, but it is sending her little signals to check her text messages, which she so dutifully does. She assures me that she is paying attention to me and tells me to "continue" with what I am saying, but at some point it gets rather old, and I feel that what I have to say isn't really important. The truth is, it isn't.

This happens not only in the coffee shop, but it happens as I talk with people who are visiting in my home. It happens during Bible study, and yes, I have even seen people text in church. I guess what the pastor has to say isn't that important, either. At least I'm in good company.

I may have ticked off a few friends by what I wrote. After all, who am I to talk about texting, I don't even own a cell phone. On the other hand, maybe no one will read this since blogs are a thing of the past. But I really am concerned with how far we've come in this techno-savvy age we live in. Have we come so far that we've forgotten the importance of a real, uninterrupted conversation--a conversation in which both people can talk and be heard, really heard? Have we forgotten that the people who are right in front of us are--at least for those few moments--more important than the people who are on the other end of the cell phone? Instant communication has its costs, just like instant gratification, instant coffee and instant mashed potatoes.


hestermom said...

Hey you... just wanted you to know I am still reading!! I agree, that technology can be all- consuming... we have to really take great care how much we allow it to have a place in our life. Ben and I didn't send or receive texts up until about two weeks ago. We got iPhones. It was a big decision... but what I wanted to share about it was that, we decided in the end, that we could use it as a ministry tool, and have been able to text Bible verses, prayers, and words of encouragement to others. But, again, the iPhone was made for man, not man for the iPhone. =) It is like any other form of technology, we have to be wise in our usage, and not let it master us.

frisky said...

You sound like my dad when the kids are around. ; ) He never thinks I'm listening to him if the kids interrupt or I have to tell them to not burn themselves on the fireplace glass. We're always interrupted on the phone too, never a fully decent conversation there either since having kids. Having kids has made me feel so disconnected.... what to do, what to do?
FYI, if it looks like people Are texting in church, remember that those people with smart phones that are actually at church, most likely have at least 20 different versions of Bibles IN said phone. They could be checking commentaries on what the pastor is preaching even. Just sayin'. ; )

Christine H. said...

Good insight, Gina. Thanks! I didn't know that. (Me, not having a cell phone! he he)
But I still like face-to-face communication with cell phones turned off.
ha ha ha!
Did you see my post about organization?
I'm hopeless, I decided 2 days ago to re-arrange my already organized closets. You know I need help when it get to that point! : )

Ryan said...

I loooove texting during church. Yes I also use the bible program, logos, on my iPhone during church, especially cause it let's me switch versions and read passages in the Greek (not Hebrew, my Hebrew is awful).
But what I really love about my phone on Sunday mornings is the ability to text. I love being able to twit on the Church's webpage, key phrases that Paul says in realtime, and I really like being able to challenge others with pastoral questions about the subjects he is preaching on. It's especially useful for me to get texts from others alerting me of problems, too hot/cold, audio problems, childcare problems, etc.
And sometimes it's even nice to text people out of church if something is on my mind, so that I can drop the thought, cross it off my mental "to do" list and be able to focus more. I also like that Paul completely supports my in church texting and knows that, like Lisa mentioned, I'm using it as a tool for The Kingdom.

I understand your frustration with full attention not being given Christine, but know that if I'm having a conversation with someone, and you text (or email for that matter) me, I will stop what I'm doing as soon as possible to read what is on YOUR mind. :-)

Ryan said...

Btw, my comment: sent from my phone ;-)