Although I was able to connect to the Net in the mountains last Saturday, our home wireless connection has been on again, off again all week. The resulting frustration has created a flurry of what to do in the meantime, as online banking and some other important business came to an abrupt halt. How slow and cumbersome to transact business without on-line features. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to do some of these things over the phone. Talk to someone in customer service? Too slow. At least I can get my email over my phone.
But even that is slow for some. In a frenzy to keep moving faster and with more immediacy even email is becoming the millennial generation’s version of snail-mail. There are recent concerns for injury resulting from thumb overuse, as texting becomes the new currency in modern communication. A friend and I were at a restaurant and observed a young couple, heads bowed, praying at their table…we thought. Then, looking closer, we realized that they were sitting across from one another, peering down at individual phones in hand, texting.
A New York Times article opened with the line, “Are your Facebook friends more interesting than those you have in real life?” which encourages us to question how our social and cognitive lives are affected by all of this! For those who might be interested in finding out where they land on the scale between neutrality and dependence, there’s always http://www.netaddiction.com. You might brave a self-assessment test and just see if technology is your new drug of choice.
What to do? What to do? Well, we’re not turning back so it’s probably best to just acknowledge that upfront, but my own well-being does depend on familiarity and context with friends, so this weekend I am putting everything else on hold, taking a break from the need to figure out our wireless issues, and I’m going to enjoy the company of a friend coming into town. Time spent cultivating friendship, real face-to-face sharing conversation over cups of coffee, will refuel the emotional tank before Monday. I wish that kind of stress-reducing friendship for everyone. No matter how many responsibilities have accumulated for weekend tending, my encouragement is to still find that time to unplug from as much as you can and instead connect! Connect to family and friends and enjoy your weekend.