Social Media is making me anti-social!

 By Jen Monroe

There was a time in my life where I would come home from school, and proceed to talk on the phone for HOURS on end. It didn’t matter that I was talking to my best friend, who I had seen at school all day, at practice, and even wrote notes to during study hall, (to be sure to fill the void of any communication we may have had throughout the day).  I would be elated when my house phone (lol!) would ring, because I assumed that most likely it was for me. In fact, my parents purchased a second line with call waiting just so they wouldn’t have to hear that annoying beeping from a busy line when they would call home.

So why is it that when my phone rings today I get a sudden sense of unhappiness?  Just ask my friends, I am “Miss Inconsistent” when it comes to answering the phone. You’ll most likely hear my voicemail message, and not receive a phone call back for hours, but if you text me I’ll send an immediate response.

What I’ve failed to explain here is the time gap between the house phone and my current smart phone—the internet. At about age 14 I found myself completely fascinated with the Internet/ Chat rooms. I spent a period of time working for Microsoft chat as a chat operator (my job was to monitor users for their behavior in the chat room).  I made friends all over the world in these chat rooms (some of which are my Facebook friends today).  On a more local scale, I became addicted to using ICQ,  AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), and spending time in a chat room on mIRC (filled with other teens from the cities surrounding mine).  I started to become so accustom to having all of my friends in one place (the Internet) that a phone call would really cut into my multitasking.

One of the best (and worst) things that ever happened to me was text messaging. Since I no longer use computer outlets to chat with my friends (and I certainly don’t make phone calls), I know a sure fire way to keep in touch—texting.  Not to mention, I now have the ability to leave short messages on people’s Facebook walls, or send a clever message in 140 characters or less via Twitter. I no longer spend hours reconnecting with old friends, if I want to know what’s going on in their lives, I don’t pick up the phone— I stalk their profiles on Facebook.

With this being said, I am going to make a conscious effort to stay in better touch (beyond the standard text/Facebook post) with family and friends. I am proof that technology can change social behaviors, as technology changes, so does my interest in being “social”. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem… lol.

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