Thursday, February 25, 2010

To email, text, talk, or see?

Thanks to the explosion of social networking and texting, the increasing availability of email on our cell phones, it's never been easier to reconnect with and stay in touch with current and former friends, acquaintances and colleagues. 

There are some people you may not communicate with as often as you used to but when you do, the connection and understanding still there.  You pick up right where you left off.  You're glad modern technology facilitates bringing them back and keeping them in your the college roommate who recently found me on FB.

However, it's also easier to communicate only online, and not actually speak to or see friends in person, to get sucked in to whittling away the hours on the FB game of seeing who can be the wittiest when commenting on comments to comments.  To creating the best Tweets.  It's also far easier to let Internet communication take over when you are out and about.  On the bus, more and more people are typing on their phones than reading or talking.  There are so many outlets you could spend hours each day just keeping up with them or carrying on "conversations" via text or online chats.

How much is too much?  Next time you're in a restaurant, look around to see how many people are more focused on their phones than their dining companions.  I read an article recently that said some people sleep with their BlackBerries!  Hmmm.  A growing pet peeve is being with someone who simply has to respond to every text that comes in, as though a random text is more important than what you're doing and where you are right now.  People who have to interrupt a conversation to take any call only to say, "I can't talk right now," when letting the call go to voice mail serves the same purpose.  People who try to continue a conversation while they're checking email or texting.  Do I say something or not?  Should I make a request like they do in theatres to turn off all cell phones and pagers?

On the other hand, as a freelancer, I often get messages or calls from clients and agents that say "respond ASAP."  These come in any time of day or night.  If I'm at a friend's watching a movie or we're out to dinner, do I keep my phone on and pay attention to incoming missives just in case so I don't lose a job?  When is staying in touch essential or important, or simply impolite? 

What do you think?  There are, of course, many articles on this issue.  Here are just a few:



1 comment:

EilisFlynn said...

Somehow, I can't believe that "respond asap" means that you should reply at 3am!