Constantly Connected

I got my first cell phone when I was 14. I do, however, fondly remember the days when the only way I could communicate with my friends outside of school was via my house phone. I remember 3-way calls. I remember talking to whoever my latest crush was until we were literally both sleeping on the phone (you hang up first! No, you hang up first!). I remember my mom yelling at me because “You are not the only one in the house who has people to talk to, young lady!” This eventually led to my 13th birthday present, our second line, which was one of those gifts that was really a gift for everyone in the Parks household.

At school, there was no text messaging in class. I passed a lot of notes in those days. In fact, I even knew fancy ways to fold the notes that I wrote to my friends. I used markers in lots of different colors. My friends and I planned our routes to class so we could see each other and pass said notes.

It’s funny to me to see how dependent we have become on the never-ending forms of communication that now exist. Having just one, two, or even three of them don’t seem to be enough these days. We need to be connected in multiple ways at all times. I miss having a day, or even an hour, where no one can get in touch with me. I miss being disconnected.  I miss the days where not answering your phone meant that you were out of the house or unavailable, not (gasp) seriously injured, kidnapped, or dead.

If you’re trying to get a hold of someone these days, your options for communication seem to be endless. Phone call, text message, BBM, iMessage, Email, gchat, ichat, IM, Facebook chat, Facebook message, video chat, Face Time, and the list goes on and on (notice that house phone was not included in my list).

The real question, however, is how do you decide which method of communication to use? The answer, to me, is completely dependent on the situation. Want to talk to your best friend? Text or Gchat. Someone you haven’t talked to in a while? Email or Facebook message. Friends that you don’t get to see very often? Video chat! Your parents? Phone call, for sure. Unless, unlike mine, your parents are technologically savvy and then maybe, just maybe, you can text message them too (lucky!!). Crush? That’s a tough one. I say phone call, but I’m sure many people would disagree.  Boyfriend? All of the above! (Just kidding) For me, mostly phone call, text message and email (while we’re at work).

It’s difficult for me to choose my favorite method of communication from the list above, considering so many of them are so remarkable. Gchat? Yes, love it. I could gchat all day long (and, actually, most days, I do). Video chat? Amazing. I’m still even a sucker for a good old fashion phone call. Personally though, I really love emails. I don’t know why, but to me, an email says that you put in a little extra effort. You really went out of your way to get in touch with me. For some reason, seeing an email in my inbox excites me so much more than receiving a text. Did it really require any extra effort to send me an email over a text? No way. Definitely not. I know that’s not the case, however, my opinion remains the same. My least favorite method of communication? Easy. Facebook chat. I’m not sure why I dislike it, considering all of my friends seem to be on it at all times, but for some reason, I just never really jumped on the FB chat bandwagon. That being said, if that’s how you choose to communicate with me, please do not be offended if I don’t respond. It’s not you, it’s FB chat.

I do miss the days of 3-way calls, passing notes, and showing up at my friends’ houses 90210 style*. Every once in a while, I welcome an hour or two of being disconnected. Despite all of that, I’m typically the first person to respond to an email chain between my friends. I am on Gchat every working hour of the day. I have always had the very latest version of BBM, text message, iMessage, etc. When I said that every once in a while, I welcome being disconnected, the key words were “every once in a while.” I cannot understand how or why people go hours, let alone days without responding to a text or email. Let’s face it. I love being connected.

*For those of you who don’t know what I mean when I say, “showing up at my friend’s houses 90210 style,” I will explain (but shame on you for not getting this reference to my all-time favorite show). In the original Beverly Hills 90210 (not the new CW version, which I will admit I love as well), all of the characters would always show up at each other’s houses unannounced, ring the doorbell, and somehow their friends were always home! Now, I know this is TV and not real life; however, I used to do this when I was a kid as well, and somehow it always worked out for me. These days, you just can’t do this. Not only would that be a huge waste of time if your friends weren’t home, but some might even consider it rude to show up without as much as a text message saying you were on your way.

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