For as long as I can remember I have been a talker. Then texting came along and everything became QUICKER, SHORTER and MORE DIFFICULT. I cannot remember the last time I picked up the phone to make a call just for the sake of it, in fact tonight I had a discussion with my friend (face to face not via social media, I know, quelle horreure) about how I actively invert with sheer terror when my phone rings. I mean, who has time to make a phone call anymore? What even is a landline? That’s like that grid thing on a map, right?
What happened to me? Long gone are the days of coming home from school and heading straight to the hall, ear fused to the receiver, where I took up position completely barricading the walkway for my poor mother who only wanted to put the tea out as I lay prostrate on the carpet and analysed every single detail of my day, “But CAROLINE, Tristan got new shoes and they are boke.” An actual snippet of a real life conversation that I had at age 13 and the solid basis – I believed – for a 2 hour long phone call with my friend.
Now even the most IMPORTANT detail is sent via a toneless, emotionless slurry of words, filtered with emojis that can make ALL the difference. The amount of time it takes for something that is supposed to be quick is mind boggling. The amount of time spent analysing what has been said is infinite (well, for me anyway)
If like me you have an iPhone and you have updated to the latest software, Apple have attempted to make this less of an issue by adding in multiple effects and handwriting capabilities and gifs and a dancing monkey dressed as a baby to arrive at your friend’s door and give them a hug if they seem somewhat disheartened. Okay well that last bit about the monkey isn’t true, the rest is. I LOVE the new update BUT it’s providing me (and I am sure many other people like me) with yet another method of not actually speaking.
“But ugh I don’t have time to talk ugh to people ugh on the phone ugh.” An actual snippet of a real life conversation that I just had with myself at age 35 and the solid basis – I believed – for sending people I care about text messages when I really should pick up the phone.
It’s not just texting though is it? It’s Tweeting and Facebooking and Snapchatting and Tumblr’ing and Instagram’ing. Now, don’t get me wrong – I LOVE IT ALL. I use most of them (minus Tumblr) on an almost daily basis, multiple times a day. If I am not actively tweeting I am scrolling through hundreds of 140 character thoughts from people I don’t really know and shouting into the void all the while avoiding eye contact with my nearest and dearest and I WILL NOT STOP. I have made some lovely friends via the powers of social media, I have also encountered some not so lovely people BUT isn’t that the beauty of the interwebz?
This is in no way about advocating a social media break, those Nene Leakes eye-rolling gifs need to be shared. For me, I think it’s about being a little more conscious in my choices. When I have felt like I’m on my own and want a little chitter chat my first port of call is iMessage, WhatsApp, the Twitter app, followed by Facebook, followed by Instagram, followed by Snapchat aaaaannnnd repeat. The amount of time this takes, if I were to actually time it (but I won’t because that would be embarrassing), is staggering.
Maybe I will start using the phone for actual speaking purposes. Imagine how much more fun it would be to have a conversation and get a response from an actual human, in real time?
Plus, I am certain I would save at least an hour and a half a day searching for the perfect Parks and Recreation gif to match my sentiment exactly….
Ps. Apple better not steal my iMonkey idea – if they do, you heard it here first. Now I am off to search on Instagram for the image I saw earlier that prompted me to write this – I’ll start this new regime from tomorrow…