Thanks to Jayne for directing me to Despair.comI offered to drive her to the bus terminal on my way home and she accepted the offer gratefully. Young and pretty, she held her PDA in one hand, plugged the end of an earphone in the unit and the other in her ear. I watched out of the corner of my eye as she moved her thumbs with amazing speed and sent text messages to an invisible recipient while listening to her music. A few seconds later the PDA vibrated, a response was acknowledged, and her thumbs went into action again. Five minutes of silence passed and more as we waited at a red light near her destination. I am comfortable with companionable silence and did not interrupt her social networking agenda. I am older than her mother, but right now am also a person who can pass or fail her on the final placement of her course. She is fashionable and bright but interacting with real people in new situations makes her visibly nervous and anxious. She has difficulty engaging in small talk.
I watch teenagers in church as they text their friends during the sermon. Others text while driving, putting their lives and the lives of others at risk.
I dropped her off and she thanked me politely for the ride. The news came on the car radio and the announcer said,
"Blogging is so last year... A study has found that young people are losing interest in long-form blogging, as their communication habits have become increasingly brief and mobile." (source)
Writing and commenting on blogs is taking a back seat to other forms of social networking with people under 30 years old. I have a Facebook account and interact with family and friends daily on this platform. But I have avoided Twitter and texting, accessing the internet from my computer only. I still read real books but all types of print media are struggling to make a profit these days. I doubt this young student opens a book outside of school. Another news report this week said,
"Little or no grammar teaching, cellphone texting, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, all are being blamed for an increasingly unacceptable number of post-secondary students who can't write properly. (source)
I got a "fashionable" Razr cell phone three years ago which is now a relic in the fast changing world of electronic devices. (It is a really lousy phone too!) My cellular provider has sent me letters advising of the opportunity for a "free" iPhone or Blackberry with my next contract. Do I want to enter this portable internet world, a world requiring good eyesight, fast thumbs and multi-tasking prowess? Will I have to own one eventually? Technology prophets predict that PDAs will be used instead of credit cards before long.
For the time being I will continue to read books, write blog posts, use Facebook moderately, and buy a basic cell phone. I will be sure to engage in face to face conversations with people each and every day, but the world is not following my example.
Amazing, the coincidence...I just saw the diagram on the t shirt today during a social media seminar...and yes, in order to communicate, we "EP's" will have to figure out how to work the gadgets, or get lost in the generational shuffle....least that 's what they were all expounding, and I tend to agree.ReplyDelete
I'm with you Ruth. Let's keep the language alive and blog. Although I am always a bit behind the tech. Plus, wait a few years when all these thumb texters are having pain and problems with their digits.ReplyDelete
It is hard to keep abreast of things these days. I can't stand the abbreviated, vague messages that are delivered by the mostly younger set (I'm talking about Facebook as I don't have a Twitter account). Grammar is rarely accurate and spelling??!!! One can hardly catch the drift of what is being said. Often, I don't catch what is being talked about (I have young nieces and nephews that I follow and not all that young I might add, late 20s early 30s!!) Basically they want someone to write back and say, what the heck are you talking about? ... to see if anyone out there is reading and if anyone really cares. But, I have a hard time buying into that method of attention seeking. Can you tell I'm a bit fed up with Facebook?!ReplyDelete
All these are forms of communication which is the first level of importance. Once we stop communicating .....ReplyDelete
Anyway, other studies show increased cognitive skills by using multiple forms of communications, as well as speaking multiple languages.
The tools we use (I have a Blackberry) should reflect our needs, not fads. But we should also take the time to learn how to use our tools, so we can take advantage of their benefits and avoid the negative.
With my love of travel I could never go back to not being mobile.
I suppose I am a relic too then Ruth, for I will continue to just blog. Like you, I only access the internet via my desk based computer. I have fully resisted Facebook all together and Twitter... forget about it. Is it rather sad to me that lately, your passenger's generation seems to be less and less engaged with what is going on right in front of them.ReplyDelete
Susan- We used to have hand helds for charting at the hospital but it was too expensive to keep up with technology and training. Now the hospital has blocked Facebook on its entire wireless network and is looking at blocking more applications in the near future. They are counterproductive at our workplace.ReplyDelete
Gaelyn- They will undoubtedly get thumb injuries eventually, but the social stunting may be even harder to overcome.
CS- The second article I cited said that students are submitting essays in university with words like "cuz" and emoticons for emphasis. I do use Yahoo Messenger/Skype a few times a week to talk to my out-of-country daughter as her phone reception is poor in the evenings. I can appreciate a few abbreviated phrases when our conversation is typed out.
SLD- My dear forever young brother..
If I had your job and lifestyle I would have Blackberry. There are good uses for these applications. You are not socially impaired face to face and do not spend all your spare time with your gadget. It is all about balance.
Jayne- Someone at work asked what we did before cell phones. Even that level of availability can be taxing. We expect to be able to contact people instantly. Politeness and necessary social skills can be lost to technology.
A few of us need to hang onto the 'good old days'.I love blogging,as it is much like talking to someone,but this texting thing is not for me.Thanks for your interesting posts and keep it up.ReplyDelete
Odd. I just finished reading about a report that kids don't blog much and maybe partly because their elders do. Apparently, they do a lot with something called My Space, whatever that might be. :)ReplyDelete
I barely touch a cell phone, nevermind text. I wonder if the next step in our evolution will have to do with improving on our thumbs though.
As a member of the under 30 demographic, my peers often refer to me as a luddite. I still have a basic cell phone (with a prepaid card.) When I had to replace it I bought a flip phone with a camera only because I had no choice. It is actually less technologically advanced then the one my father gave me 6 years ago when I lived in Europe! I use a laptop and not a pda. I have a spiral bound dayplanner. I have a homemakers notebook to keep track of lists/contacts/activities. I still read paper books, rather then use a kindle. I still handwrite thank you notes...ReplyDelete
I like talking face to face, that seems to be the hardest thing for people my age to do. Find time to connect, not online/text, but in real life. Not that it is all bad, I realize I might make it sound that way, just sometimes it seems like too much.
Ruth....oh how true this is.ReplyDelete
I have a computer, facebook and we have a couple of family blogs,own a cell phone(but don't send text messages)and yet I am so far behind in these things.We are starting to use more computer entry at work and will eventually go to computer charting...this is very hard for my work area as almost all of the staff on my floor are over the age of 45. I find it hard enough just learning the electronic devices I do use. Well I guess learning new things is also a good brain stimulator.
Dad claims I'm not computer savvy, but I do manage to complete accounts, letters, and much more by computer. My cell phone is good for emergencies but has no camera etc.ReplyDelete
When teaching Grades 7-9 in a mission school, I had students put cell phones on my desk until class was over. First day it was bedlam - "What if I get sick or Mom dies???? Land line phone in office.
My children are incredibly brilliant and my grandchildren can get me out of any "computer problem.
I still devour books as do most of my children and half of my granddchilren even though 2 of them can handle and text 2 phones at the same time. Can't change now!!!!
I'm with you too! Several people have invited me to FB, including people from my own family, but if I hear/see what they're communication is like, I rather not spend my time in superficial contact. And why would I have to be in contact with all the people I've known in my past?? I have difficulty as it is to keep up with my current contacts:)ReplyDelete
It will take several years, but I expect the pendulum to swing back to more meaningful social contact:)
Interesting-I decided to avoid texting,tweeting, etc for now.I'll stick with the old fashioned blog for a while.ReplyDelete
Hi Ruth - this is SUCH a great post! I thoroughly enjoyed the anecdote and the point to follow. Truth be told, I had always thought that blogging was a compromise to true writing, until your post made me begin to reflect otherwise. I realized that I was wrong - blogging IS real writing - and what's more, it's also learning from others' writing. Something you can't get just by keeping a private journal. :)ReplyDelete
On that note, thanks for also pointing out the unfortunate trend in my generation! I will be sure to make efforts to resist the tide of this age :P Fortunately for me, I have a natural love for blogging and reading - and I don't own a cell phone!
2 weeks ago while sitting in the hospital awaiting news of U.Harold's heart surgery I saw what I considered the extreme limited in texting when I noticed 2 of my daughters texting each other as they sat across from each other. It did turn into a bit of a tension breaker as we realized the humor of the situation, but that's how technology has taken over lives.ReplyDelete
And, let me tell you, texting is having an impact on writing skills.ReplyDelete
Also it has an impact on teaching--since I take a stern stance where using cell phones in class is concerned. I tell students--don't try any of that texting under the desk stuff; I know what you're doing when your thumbs are moving!
I enjoyed reading this post and all the comments with it.
Thanks to all who took the time to comment!ReplyDelete
You're so right! Young people are becoming more and more isolated with all their electronic tech stuff.ReplyDelete
I love this post and must admit that I am torn between the simple things in life and being in touch with all of the social media/social networking stuff. I'm searching for the balance. I know it's the way the world is going but I don't know if it's good!ReplyDelete
I have my moments blogging and with facebook! I think the reason the youth does facebook is that it is so much easier than doing RSS feeds each day!ReplyDelete