That's what I call it - technoscape. The art of avoiding face to face conversation or even glancing up to look at someone while using technology, be it listening to music with headphones, busily texting, or carrying on a full on cell conversation in front of everyone.
The way I figure it, everyone needs validation. It's a basic human necessity. People want to know that they've been seen and heard. No one enjoys being ignored.
But that's exactly what we've come to. I'm no angel, I do it too.
I was out for a run today, and counted five people I passed that were either texting, tuned into their tunes or chatting away on their cell phone. Please don't think I expect everyone to notice me, sweaty and a little out of shape, panting and grimacing.... not exactly a fitness model, but I had to swerve to miss two of them because they were so engrossed in what they were doing.
I thought about this as I trotted along and how disconnected it feels.
I reflected on how I never used to text people. Now with a smartphone, it's so easy. I texted a friend in the Remembrance Day crowd so we could find each other. (We never did connect ironically!) I make plans via text. Facebook. Twitter. I've met some cool people through both. An old pal I haven't seen in a dozen years, we figured out, saw my Facebook status, and invited me to join him via Twitter/Facebook. Ten minutes later we were catching up on the past 12 years. Incredible. That's an upside.
Theorists speculate about this all the time. What will be next? How will our children communicate? Will we all lose the ability to be honest and do the right thing by having a face to face conversation about important events? Will teenagers be able to talk to their parents about the menacing insecurity they feel about themselves so we can prevent so many of the tragic suicides that have become so prevalent? Will even more marriages end because neither person knows what to say or how to say it and it's just easier to say nothing at all?
Some suggest that young people are far more open than our generations were. They talk about everything. Sure, but HOW do they communicate? E-mail, texting, sexting? Should those be the primary messengers?
All of this was swirling in my head as I plodded along. Of course, I was listening to the iPod on my phone so had earbuds in my ears. If someone wanted to engage me in conversation, they'd have to do something else to get my attention. When I first started running years ago, I didn't listen to anything but the chatter in my head. I sorted stuff out, made plans, set goals, encouraged myself. Now it seems so much more of a motivator to listen to the tunes I love and rock out! But I have always felt music changes your mood.
Sidetracked. Back to technoscape.
Alot of people have tried to raise this issue with many new forms of communication. People talk about it but no one stops it. It's a multi-billion dollar industry and hell, they're FUN!
So what do we do? Do we stop texting, e-mailing, Tweeting?
I wish I had the answer. I feel lucky I still LOVE to talk to people face to face and am not afraid of telling the truth and having to confront an issue in person. I just think it's the considerate thing to do.
Maybe I'll be a novelty. There's gotta be something in that right?