In the age of technology, are we losing connection with others? Do we have a balance between “in person” and online communication or are we turning into technology hermits?
The other day I was at the mall and stopped to really look at the food court guests. Families, groups of teens, older couples…the room was jam packed and what I noticed was that the teens were on their phones while the older generation were actually speaking to one another.
A group of teens, sitting together, were all on their phones texting each other instead of speaking to one another. People laugh at this or find it sad. I see it as the reality of our time. It’s not a bad thing.
In grade school we played at recess, hung out after school, had sleepovers…etc . We didn’t have cell phones and usually access to online communication was pretty restricted.
Sure, we still hang out but now we do far more snapchatting , direct messaging, and use our phone for texting rather than talking. I am not even sure why I have a calling plan. I never, EVER, use it. If I see your face outside of school it’s usually via Skype or FaceTime.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am social and can connect with someone on a person-to-person level but I will easily resort to all forms of tech communication in a heartbeat. For me it’s my go-to. It’s what I am used to. It’s my comfort zone. I can share a goofy snapchat story or embarrassing YouTube video and not have a care in the world but public speaking gives me wicked shakes. Bottom line, I am still communicating…my way.
This past March break I have spent nearly 90% of my time on one tech platform or another. I have been hustling and it feels awesome. I have been investing in my future. Have I been investing in my friendships? To be honest, not that much. It doesn’t mean I don’t value them but I get caught up in my exercise routine, filming, editing, blogging, networking on social media and stumbling my way through web code (WordPress is new to me and it’s not as straight forward as drag and drop). In my downtime I am researching for future content or actually trying to read a book. When I connect with friends it is usually through Snapchat (please don’t send me streaks, I can’t stand them) and then I carry on with my giant to-do list.
Does this make me happy? Yes, in fact this week off of school where I have been able to dedicate myself fully to my goals has been incredible. Do I miss 1:1 connection – not really. Mom and I will have our coffee breaks and brainstorm over what’s next and that seems to be all the fuel I need to stay balanced. That said, I fully understand that learning social skills and being able to communicate well in face-to-face situations is essential; it plays a huge role in our ability to succeed.
We must be able to make eye contact, shake hands, learn the back and forth dance of dialogue, and yes, stand up in front of a classroom, a team, a room full of business people, and be able to share our views without turning into a puddle on the floor. Can I do it? Yes, it takes practice. Can you do it? You might be a born talker and rule it. You, like me, might sweat like a pig near a butcher shop and need to put in some extra effort. In the end though, we can all learn to communicate.
What I have learned – keys to communication:
- Invest in your valued friendships, not popularity
- Be kind to everyone you meet
- Learn the art of small talk
- Be very communicative with people in the customer service world – the level of customer service you receive will skyrocket. You will both feel appreciated!
- It’s perfectly ok to snuggle up in the dynamic world of technology. We are in the age of social media! Embrace it. Just don’t turn into a tech hermit.
- Find YOUR balance. What works for you might not be what works for someone else.
- ENGAGE. That can mean a face-to-face chat, a DM, sending a “hey just saying hi” text, share a story on Snapchat. Just engage in some way or another and watch your world expand.
Let me know how you prefer to communicate with others, if public speaking gives you weak knees or if you love the thrill of putting yourself out there! Comment below.