Jul 28, 2014

Together But Separate

Texting is here to stay despite its downsides.

Together But Separate Together But Separate

I miss the sounds that used to annoy me in the downtown .

I used to hear people cheerily greeting each other with “Hi’s” and “How are you’s,” mother’s and nanny’s correcting and corralling noisy kids and cell phone users raising their voices. Not so anymore.

Now when I go for coffee, it’s quiet except for the cell phone folks. They’re still around and they still talk too loud.

I’m at Starbucks often. I have a gold card.

Now when I go for coffee the place is full of people sporting ear buds totally engrossed in laptops or iPads. Individuals sit at tables or in oversized chairs texting–together but separate.

I love my grande non-fat, half-caf, tepid latte with a half pump of mocha. Some days I change it up and order a morning bun and tea. Very yummy! (If you haven’t tried one, you’re missing a real treat.) On hot days or when I’m looking for something cool and dessert-like, vente mocha frappucino light hits the spot.

But I digress.

Lately Starbucks feels more like a solitary workplace or a library than a café.

I have a friend who’s doing her dissertation on this current phenomenon–how the lines of what constitutes “a workplace” have blurred. For many people, work no longer happens in an office. Everyone is mobile and isolated.

I used to worry about someone at the next table overhearing my conversation. Today privacy has a new definition. Personal information published on social networks broadcasts within minutes for the world to see. Texts, emails and tweets–anytime, anywhere.

I email all the time and can’t imagine not using it. It’s convenient and easy, but tone of voice and body language are absent in digital dialogue. There’s no way to determine if words exchanged have offended or distressed the person on the receiving end. Emotions are difficult to convey when personal connection is missing.

Sarcasm and anger, joy and excitement don’t easily translate via the keyboard. It’s too easy to be misunderstood or misunderstand. IMHO, emoticons will never replace face-to-face expressions.

Texting also encourages laziness. Instead of walking into another room to speak to someone or to ask a question, people text each other. Why get out of bed? Text in your pajamas.

Someone texting at a meeting, in the movies or while having dinner with me annoys me no end. I think it’s rude and disrespectful. I still put stock in old-fashioned values.

The biggest downside for me is what’s happening to writing and grammar. In the rush to communicate quickly, words are being replaced with abbreviated shortcuts. The beauty and art of language is taking a beating. I find this disturbing and unsettling.

Despite the negatives, texting is here to stay. So I’ll utilize its benefits, try to overlook the irritation that accompanies it and declare it a tool worth using. In moderation of course.

TAFN (that’s all for now), G4C (going for coffee).

SICNR (sorry, I could not resist)!

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