Many experts were quoted. One opined that we’re creating “acquired” attention deficit problems with the brevity of Twitter posts. Several decried the need to be always connected to our devices. The usual tales of ineffective multitasking laced it all together.
It felt empty. The articles were not poorly written or poorly constructed. They were just cursory and heartless. Neither “side” of the debate had enough room there to expand their views. In short, the articles seemed to suffer from a kind of ADD themselves.
So. I will not quote any experts. I will not claim to be an expert. But, from my heart, I will say: it depends.
I love Facebook because it lets me catch glimpses of people, little snapshots of life that do, in fact, keep me connected to people I know in real life. On the other hand, I found myself writing a long email to a dear friend because the Facebook posts, while useful, didn’t allow for the kind of personal, in-depth communication I wanted to have.
I love email because it reduces my need to call people on the phone. I hate calling people on the phone. Even people I love dearly. I love that email comes at a time convenient to the recipient: no one is awakened in the middle of the night by an incoming email the way that a person can be panicked into wakefulness by a ringing phone.
I may be the world’s slowest text-message-sender, but I appreciate what I get out of it anyway. It’s a much less intrusive way, for example, to tell Syd I’m ready to pick him up than either calling him or physically walking over and disrupting his conversation with his friends. I like that I can get an answer to a simple question with a glance.
Online games just don’t appeal to me. For one thing, I can’t stand the repetitive music and/or sound effects. I’m sure there’s a control for that, since there is one for bosom-bouncing, but that’s not the point. Just not my thing. But T. loves them. His play seems to enhance his friendships, through online chat while playing and through cooperative play when he’s with his friends, and as a bonding conversation topic other times. I do have a few commonsense rules around his usage: He has to go outside and run around at least once a day; homework has to be done or at least scheduled; he has to deal with basic hygiene issues.
The goal, really, is connection. Sometimes a quick connection is enough. Sometimes I need to connect more deeply. That’s what seeing friends is for.
I am now officially out of time to write and probably have exceeded the patience of any remaining readers.
You can IM me your thoughts…