Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Digital Communication

I just went through a month’s worth of RSS feeds and found this blog entry by an old friend from 9th grade that I have recently gotten back in touch with. I read the blog and realized she was talking about me, and I wanted to post my response here as well as leaving a comment over there:

Again, the link to her blog:

And my response:

Yikes- you're talking about me, huh? And I never called you back. THAT is just plain unacceptable.

I suffer the same anxieties, which cause me not to use the phone. At all. For example, what if I call when that person is not there and then I am in phone tag hell? What if I call but I don't end up having the extended amount of time needed for the call? Will getting off the phone "early" make that person feel like they aren't important? The sad truth is that both action AND inaction cause these anxieties to come true, and it ends up being a self fulfilling prophecy.

I am busy, but that is no excuse to avoid returning people's phone calls. I am truly ashamed of myself, and I apologize. I just don't make people a priority on a daily basis, and then things get backed up. A week passes and I realize that I never replied to the phone call I received the previous week, and I am too embarrassed to respond. Vicious cycle. Ick.

Digital media makes things so much easier for me. I can write responses on my schedule and take as long as I need. I get to multi-task without offending anyone, which allows me to keep a high energy lifestyle. On the other hand, digital communication makes things harder, because now I am in touch with HUNDREDS of people instead of just dozens. And everyone expects responses to be returned immediately, and much of the time I just don't have the energy to engage that often. Even worse, digital technology has allowed me to hide from the phone and let that interpersonal anxiety fester.

Maybe I would be better off without email, and Facebook, and blogs, and texting, because then I would be forced to use more personal communication to relate to others. It would mean that I would have to limit the quantity of friendships I maintain. But each friendship would have more investment. I have been grappling with these thoughts for a while, so thanks for blogging about this and allowing me to express them (I think I am going to post this on my blog too- see link above...)

As a PostScript- Today is the 25th and I am just now getting to my RSS feeds (which is how I found this blog- I subscribe! So, in some ways I am paying attention...)

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