By Sophia ’13
I know this may be hard to believe, but there was a time not all that long ago when cell phones and the Internet did not exist. No Twitter, no Facebook, no Tumblr. When a girl said she’d been “talking to Siri,” it meant she had an actual human friend named Siri. When a guy mentioned tweeting, he was talking about the sound a bird makes. But now we are separated by screens and governed by emoticons, making it nearly impossible to form a real connection with anyone. Today, communicating with someone is easier than ever, but how much are we actually communicating?
In prehistoric times (before the iPhone), there were no horrible miscommunications resulting from someone accidentally texting a frown instead of a smiley face, and no one found the value of her self-esteem grounded in profile pictures and statuses. With texting and e-mail and Twitter and iChat and Skype and Facebook and BBM, having a face to face conversation is practically a thing of the past. Being able to talk to anyone, anywhere, any time has definite perks, but exchanging convenience for a real human connection is a high price to pay. Don’t get me wrong: I treat my iPhone like a newborn child and I check Facebook at least five times a day. But when my Grandma says something like “How do you post Twitters to your face page?” I must admit I feel a twinge of jealousy: she has the luxury of avoiding a world in which people have no real connection to each other.
In this world of over-sharing narcissists, privacy is practically obsolete. When people introduce themselves I often have to suppress the urge to say “I already know your name, and I know your favorite band is Radiohead, and I know you have a pet dog named Thomas,” because if I did, the conversation would probably end with a restraining order. And then I wonder, if I know all this about someone I’ve never met, how many strangers are there in the world who know my middle name and my favorite movies? We all have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but I’d venture to guess that fewer than half would be considered our friends in the real world. With all the amazing benefits that modern technology provides, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for a time I really never lived in, where Facebook hasn’t replaced face to face conversations, and talking still trumps texting.