Friday, April 17, 2009

Too Much Information

I was in the act of composing an email to a friend (he had posted a status update on FaceBook about a doctor visit and I was concerned) and something that I wrote made me stop and think for a second. I had written "nothing much new here, you can see what is going on by my FaceBook updates and my blog".
That sentence made me stop dead in my tracks. 
We are living in the "instant update zone", what with Twitter, FaceBook, blogs, MySpace (does anyone still use that?) and the like. There is no need to spend time hashing out long emails to our friends, when they can just follow our tweets or scan our status updates. I fear that we are becoming an entire nation of hyperactive multitasking people. We watch TV while texting, talk on our cell phones while driving, eat dinner while checking our email, and even give our children video games to play to keep them out of our hair for a while. 
Remember the old days, where you would write (by hand!) an actual letter? My parents had stationery, with a design. I remember them using it to write notes to my teacher when I was out sick. I also remember having pen pals and the thrill I got when there was mail for me. I so enjoyed writing to my pen pals and hearing their stories. 
Those days are gone. 
Now everyone is a virtual pen pal, information without intimacy.

This link confirms what I'm saying. The statistics are incredible. 
We can never go back to the old ways, and for that I am sad. There is a whole generation of people out there that have never, and will never, hand write a letter. 

One of my friends summed it up best while we were discussing the social media explosion. His Dad had recently passed away and one of his friends had taken the time to hand write a card expressing her condolences and some reassuring thoughts for the future. My friend keeps this card on his night stand and re-reads it from time to time. 
Here is his comment: "Twitter, FaceBook and emails have their place, it's true. But I don't keep any 'tweets' or emails on my nightstand."

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