On the Other Side of the Screen

I have no excuse. According to society, I fit the description. I am in the appropriate generation. I frequently check my electronic mail daily and love a good instant messaging chat. I have a cell phone on which I make phone calls and send occasional texts. I recently acquired a portable music player and have taught myself how to download music from my CD’s to the device.

I am still, however, somewhat of a misfit. I prefer to send a long, hand-written letter rather than an email. I will place a phone call before I text. I have no idea how to use iTunes nor have I ever been on their site. And I am sure that, while I used Facebook frequently, I have no idea of half the features it offers.

Case in point. Recently, I was communicating back and forth with a person concerning an upcoming event. Not sure if my husband and I were able to attend, I sent an email (for which I would rather have done one mass phone call) and began deliberating on our RSVP status. The person requested via email that I call her, but did not include her number. I was perplexed. I was sure I did not have her number and was unsure how to obtain it. After a few days of fruitless searching and an out of town, Internet-less trip, I had yet to call her. As such, she sent me an email, angered I had not placed the phone call. I wrote her back and explained that I did not have her number, but remembering to include mine.

I was away from my phone when she called, but she left a long voicemail wondering why I had not gone through a mutual friend to get the phone number or had not looked on her profile page on Facebook to get her number. Phone numbers are on Facebook?! I was so surprised. I had no idea a person could publish their address and phone number on Facebook. Furthermore, why would I call a mutual friend, only to request the phone number for another person?

I miss the days of phone calls and letters, when people communicated in one long conversation rather than sporadic emails where miscommunication is both very possible and quite prevalent. As as society, I believe we have become too busy with technology to remember there is a person behind that computer or cell phone. As such, we forget to spend the needed time just talking, catching up on life’s ups and downs. I know that my generation, not to mention the generation following, are the biggest perpetrators. However, there are a few of us, though we seem to fit the profile, who are still just as confused and perplexed by the new technology and its unestablished etiquette.

I will continue to learn through unintended trial and error. However, I will obstinately remain an old-fashioned misfit. My lengthy letters and simple phone calls will continue. I will continue on Facebook, but will not let this become my primary form of communication. I know, as technology continues to advance, I will become both more updated, but also more stubborn in my ways. I have no problem learning new things, but I refuse to forget the humanity on the other side of the screen.

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