Love in the time of texting: I'll make this quick

We're on our cell phones all the freakin’ time. When we’re not on our cell phones—and often, even when we are—we’re on Facebook or Myspace, or are Twittering the latest mundane detail of our day-to-day. We text message our most personal thoughts and feelings. We can be anywhere, anytime, talking to anyone. We’re never alone.


So what is this hyper-connectedness doing to us? Here's the transcript of an actual message I saw the other day:


"Josh assumed I was talking to him, through you, for Katie, and txt’ed HER to tell HER to tell me not to say mean things about him to his roommate. Did I?"


Are you confused? So are the rest of us. I won’t even bother to break this message down for you, because the story is unnecessary. Let’s just consider this a sample—a sample of how convoluted our lives have become because we are up each others’ asses all the time.


Recently, a friend was complaining about the fact that, because she lives in such a small community, it’s hard to find new love interests when a relationship goes sour. Everyone is connected somehow. Or, as her mother likes to say, “We’re all in bed together.”


There’s a mental image for you. But is it really the size of the community? St. Petersburg alone houses 248,098 people according to its last census (2006). It’s the 4th largest city in Florida, behind Jacksonville, Miami, and Tampa. The population of Pinellas County was 910,260 in July of 2008. All of Tampa Bay? 3,863,811 in 2008. Is it that we live in a small town, or that we’ve made our town smaller?


I don’t have an answer. All I have are questions. Why are we offended when our friends neglect to answer our frequent (or constant) texts? Why is “me time” no longer Ok? Do we need to start a worldwide codependency support group? Should we seek therapy for post-partum depression when we lose our phones? Or maybe, we should just take a step back, self-evaluate, and admit that we’ve all become a little technologically needy.


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My boyfriend hates texting. Hates it. Doesn’t understand it. "I’m not married to my phone," he says. "Why do people think they can just reach me whenever they want?"

They think that because, well, they can. We live in a technological age of hyper-connectedness. But, the deeper question is how has our connectedness affected us as communicators and people?

This century is a period of instant access, immediate gratification, and zero wait time. We fast forward through commercial breaks. We upload photos from our camera phones straight to Facebook, complete with caption and status updates. We guide missiles on video game consoles.

More importantly, we talk to each other constantly.

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