Communication is a powerful thing. The way we communicate can give away so much about who we are. Are we communicating positively? Are we speaking in a tone that will cause a simple innocent sentence to come across in a way that will anger someone? Are we being empathetic, or sympathetic? Are we being judgemental? Are we being condescending?

Now that there are so many forms of social media we are communicating in a completely different way than ever before. E-mails have taken the place of snail mail. Texts have taken the place of a quick chat. Even this very thing you’re reading normally would have been a ‘Dear Diary’ situation. Are we all just caught in the web?

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s convenient, that’s for sure, but the Chinese whispers that can happen, and the text that can be taken the wrong way can cause monumental problems.

For example, take a simple sentence like ‘Are you serious?’

Are they legitimately asking if you’re being earnest and sincere? Are they angry? Are they asking in disbelief? How are we to know? Emoji’s apparently. We are relying on little yellow faces to express our cyber emotions. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a guy that is most of the time, just a floating head.

Are we avoiding actual confrontation and conversation by bypassing physical human interaction, and hoping that a text will be enough? ‘I saw that you were talking to another woman on Facebook. You’re cheating on me!’ – BAM just like that a relationship is broken. I mean, that relationship clearly had more issues than text-talking, but it sure didn’t help.

Are we missing vital information about someones mental state by not picking up the phone and listening for warning sounds, and instead relying on a tweet saying ‘Having an awesome day, I’m in a really good place!’? Are we able to give more support by having the ability to flick someone a Facebook message at any time, day or night, just to check in?

The upside to social media of course is that we have the option to speak with people from all around the globe, sometimes about things that we may not be able to talk about in person. We can ‘meet’ people experiencing similar things – pregnancy, health issues, how not to pull your hair out through the ‘threenager’ stage. We can make real, genuine friendships through Facebook groups. We can also win competitions, we can see art, we can hear music, watch videos, read poems, write about love, lust, tragedy, betrayal and death.

We can follow the journey’s of our school classmates – friends, enemies, frenimies, exes and teachers. We see break-ups, make-ups, engagements, marriages, children being born, losses, struggles, new homes, cars, endorsements, travels, and career advances, changes and dead ends.

We wish people we don’t even like a ‘very happy birthday’. We say a mass ‘Merry Christmas!’ Why? Is it friendly, or just the done thing now?

The Internet has so much control. Our Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds, Instagram pictures, they all chronicle our lives, but at what cost? Are we sharing too much? Is it a matter of need or want? ‘Check out my dinner!’, ‘My battery is dying I’ll be out of action for ten minutes while I drive from work to home and charge up’, ‘Like for a tbh’. It seems excessive. Does anyone actually care that I drank my coffee before I ate my weet-bix this morning? Does anyone actually read my blog? Does it help anyone or am I simply doing this by means of catharsis? Does it really matter?

For me, the Internet is, for the most part, a positive thing. I love my blog. I love sharing my successes and struggles. I love hearing that people can relate to what I’m going through, that I’m not alone. It’s relaxing and freeing, and also a really good kind of terrifying because I’m putting myself out there to be judged by the general public, my family, and my friends. I love the support that I’ve gotten from people that I least expected.

I love Facebook. I love that I can contact people at the drop of a hat. I love that I can share photos of my gorgeous children (yes, I’m one of those annoying people who spams your wall with ‘Look, my kid is eating a piece of bread!’ #sorrynotsorry). I love that I can buy (actually that ones a love/hate). I love that I can sell. I love that I can join groups, follow pages, give and receive advice, share ideas, laugh at drawings from children that are completely innocent but look completely rude and hilarious (like the dad with the phallus looking chef’s hat). I love that I can open my news feed and see all the things you can clean with vinegar and bi-carb.

I love that I can Google a thousand different ways to make a toasted cheese sandwich. I love watching pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, soldiers coming home, cooking videos, and clips showing the noise that a giraffe makes on Youtube. I love spamming Instagram with pictures that I had hoped would come out looking all artsy and unique, but instead just look like my kid, looking orange from a bad filter choice, staring at a piece of toast because I’m making him wait to pose for a picture before he can eat it – oops. I won’t go as far as to say that I love Twitter…yet. I have a like for it. It’s okay-ish. I don’t think I really get it. I suppose that’s ok though because after you read my next paragraph it will be clear to you that I should probably just leave Twitter to all of the ‘Twits’ that beat me to it.

I don’t like that I feel powerless without the Internet. I don’t like that I need my phone near me. I don’t like that I have to have my phone on the bathroom counter while I’m showering. I really don’t like that I’d probably answer it if someone rang while I was in there. I don’t like that I can’t seem to switch off. I really, really can’t stand the horrible example that I’m setting for my children.

And I know I’m not alone.

So how do we stop? Is it a ‘cold turkey’ type of deal? Should we set ourselves time limits for technology like we do our children? Should we have specific ‘tech times’? I really don’t know, but I hate that I even need to consider any of the above.

Sometimes I wish I could relive a day pre-technology. Maybe I should try? On a weekend. When my husband is there to talk me off a ledge (I kid, mostly).

When did it get so bad? When did we forget to switch off, so that we can be more switched on?

Can you relate to this? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com


  • I “chat” to a lady I went to school with who now lives in USA, is married and has two grown up children. I caught up with one of her younger sisters at a school reunion and found out a bot the school old scholars facebook page which I knew nothing about. Consequently I spend a lot more time on facebook than I used to. I use text on my mobile phone sometimes when I don’t know whether or not they are home and don’t have a landline. I only use it to make a few calls, text, and I use the alarm in it the mornings I have to get up early.

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  • maybe….. it’s the generation of people using them that are the real problem? i’m younger but trust me….have you ever tried to sell something on gumtree for eg? Oldies will call and do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. My generation will txt msg and say “yeah!yeah yeah!” and then never turn up or bother to let you know. Respect, courtesy, decency, manners etc are dying traits these days.

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  • I also miss the good old days.

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  • I think unplugging is something you need to constantly strive to do. Like you, there are times when I’ve stopped and thought about if I really needed to check my email while getting ready in the bathroom. I am trying to implement a nothing before school drop off and nothing after school pick up rule during the week (well, until the kids are in bed anyway) and will try very hard not to do much on the weekend at all. Unplugging is important because apart from feeling stressed all the time, that is time you could be spending talking with your kids.

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  • I have a smart phone which I hardly ever use, don’t do social media, and prefer to phone or call in to see my friends. I love face-to-face interaction, receiving a card for my birthday in the old snail mail way and all my family and extended family always receive a snail mail card just before or on the day of their birthday. The younger grandchildren LOVE getting something delivered in their mail box – and always say how great it is to get something that way. I still send letters – and haven’t yet lost the art of writing. But I also spend about 4 hours a day on the computer doing surveys and being here on MOM. I think I am tech savvy – but I won’t let it take over my life.

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  • I agree to me technology and internet has taken over the lives of a lot of people to the extent that ‘normal conversations face to face are becoming an obsolete way of communicating’.. I love my time getting information on line and entering comps etc, great to do for fun and learning etc. But not as a full time dare I say’obsession’ as it is becoming the norm to see couples out together on their iphones to someone else! We loose so much in translation,body communication,tone and expression, without these other forms of communicating words can easily be missunderstood or cause problems. So let us balance our day to day living and internet into separate parts of our life. technology is great but so is proper normal one to one or group communication face to face. As this article makes clear, just less we forget the human interaction is very important to us all….

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  • Some interpret “messages” in a different way to what was intended by the sender. Unfortunately some words mean different things to some people.

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  • to be honest, after reading this post, I am not sure of it’s point?

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  • I know the internets the best thing since TIM tams we are all cought in a giant international web, keeping us up of a night playing on our minds. Waiting for the next candy crush life. I feel your pain my family is suffering to why can’t we just play a board game or do a jigsaw.


    • Playing board games is seriously underrated! Maybe we should bring in a weekly game night

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  • yes its so bad these days, I like the old days too


    • Wouldn’t it be great if we could jump back to that for a little while?

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  • I am very conscious of how my kids see me using technology. I limit the time I spend on it in their presence, and I often explicitly tell them what I’m doing eg “checking when our groceries will be here”, so they know it’s used with purpose.


    • Sounds like you’ve got the right idea! I’m definitely working harder to be the same. It seems silly that we even have to think about it!

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  • By choice I don’t have a mobile phone, and I don’t use Facebook or instagram. I do use the computer to google information, visit the MoM website, and send emails (and I do understand your comment about making sure that I phrase everything properly so that my intentions are not misunderstood). My teenage daughter does not have a mobile phone, and has not asked for one. I believe our lives are a little less stressful because we are trying to keep it simple.

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  • I try to set limits for how long I stay on technology but find myself filling in every spare moment when my phone in my hand.

    Reply

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