Only Child on connecting

Pondering life in the digital world

How do  you connect with those close to you and well, those not-so-close? And in today’s digital world what do you mean by close? Is it the friends on Facebook you post a like or comment to their posts or adding you own post about something? Or the quicker blasts on Twitter? Is it sharing a problem with a friend in person? Is it texting on your smart phone? Is it actually talking with someone on your phone? Is it playing voice-mail hell on your phone? Is it chatting with a friend, neighbour, acquaintance on the street? Is it yelling at someone who is blocking your way on a street or public transit steps because they are standing there texting on their phone?

Is it killing someone because that is the only way you can communicate with them or with anyone?

And note: I don’t condone murder. Even though I write about it in my Beyond mystery books.

This spiel of questions came from a conversation online with a friend about perhaps being Luddites. What we discussed is private, but it got me thinking about the way we communicate (myself included) today.

Fact: we live in an ever-changing and increasing digital world.

Are we any better for it? Should we roll back the timeline and go back to “the good old days” whatever era you think that should be?

Despite my writing my Beyond mysteries in the late 1990s when so-called digital was less onerous and could be handled, we are not going back there. We have to live with what we have now. But, it is how we do this that counts. And not all of us will choose the same path.

I tend to go along in the middle. No Twitter, but Facebook, no Smart phone but wireless – with voice mail – I definitely want to catch missed calls. Sitting on a bus texting away is not me. I look around and count the number of people in my area of the bus, the subway car, the streetcar who are shall we say involved with their devices. But I also look to see who is reading a print book, a newspaper or magazine (besides me) or even what I call low digital – an e-reader.

I also look and listen to see who is talking to another person – preferably in person sitting or standing beside them? Who is actually using their smart phone for the phone’s original use talking to family or friend – even the short phone conversation that begins with “I’m on the X bus and should be home in about 15 minutes.”

Personally, I think the overload in digital has cost us some of our humanity. Like I said we can’t go back. What we can do is reign in our digital time – well we can TRY. And try to connect more in person, on the phone with our friends and family. And some of the digital stuff can actually help here. Think Skype. Think of that commercial – I believe for an Internet service – where a grandfather is reading to his granddaughter and then they say goodnight to each other. That’s when the viewer realizes that they aren’t in the same room and it is online.

So, like most anything else (excluding murder), there is good and bad in digital. We just need to find our personal equilibrium here so we don’t lose our humanity. Like most anything else (except murder), moderation, not overindulgence works better.

Now, if I could just convince myself about that for chocolate.

Okay, cards on the table (not on the screen for a change) – my name is Sharon and I am a chocoholic.

Are you a digitaloholic?



Only Child Writes

From  the past



Filed under Communicating and Connecting, Digital World Madness, Life Balance, Life demands

4 responses to “Only Child on connecting

  1. Rio

    I don’t like talking on the phone, ever since I quit smoking. I much prefer to meet one on one which rarely happens anymore. The one advantage to texting is you can point and say, “See you said 1:30pm, not 2:00!” or in case I can’t remember (it happens a lot) I can check what time they said. Texting is not the way to have a chat though! I am being forced to conclude that a phone conversation is often as good as it gets. I don’t skype either but at holidays one of my kids will contact their sibling in B.C. and I get my turn for face time.

    • Interesting to see how you live in this digital world. I would say you are using what you need and not going wild about it. Yesterday on the bus I did something else. Took a quick peak at the smart phone the lady next to me was using. Not snooping. And not all these icons. But tiny, tiny print, which even if I had wanted to read I wouldn’t be able to see it. With bad vision in my left eye, smart phones wouldn’t work for me – although I can see graphics like in games and when a friend scrolled down my Facebook page on her smart phone, I could actually read the print.

      • Rio

        It is possible to set the size of type on your phone, still I have to get my glasses everytime I text. Even though I am quite sensible with my use of my smart phone the temptation to check my email when I’m out for a long time is hard to resist, but then I also drink too much coffee when I go out. Perhaps coffee culture is to blame?

  2. Don’t really think it is coffee culture but over abundance of digital in this world and people’s addiction to it. The digitaloholics walking blindly on the streets texting and whatever else are not drinking coffee or anything else then. They are also not paying attention to where they are going. I have had a few of them bump into me on the sidewalk and lucky it wasn’t when crossing the street…so far.

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