Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Words That Are Coming Out of My Mouth

Hello my devoted readers! I have been absent for a while, and for that I apologize. Wait, no I don't. It's my blog, and I can post as often or as seldom as I choose. I haven't really been that busy or anything, just haven't been in the mood for blogging. I've been a little distracted, I guess. But I am back to it now (to riotous applause from the masses)!

Before I get into it, I would like to draw your attention to the side bar. You will notice that there is a thingy there asking for your money. I'll post about it in more detail later, but quickly now, I'm riding the MS 150 in June and could use your support. Check it out. Or ignore it for a while, I'll get into full fund-raising mode when it gets a little closer.

I've kind of been considering communication lately. I guess it's a subject that I've always been kind of interested in, especially the ways that modern technology effects the way we communicate. If you've been with me long enough, you might remember one or all, of my rants against text messaging. I'm still not thrilled with the technology, but I've kind of resigned myself to using it- just because it's either that or not really talk to several people who use it as their main way to communicate.

Lately, the epidemic seems to have gotten much worse. It seems like all the important/cataclysmic/interesting conversations I've had lately have either been via text message or in Instant Messenger. In one case (probably the most important conversation I've had with this medium), it was completely my fault that it wasn't in person, but every other instance has been on the other party.

I kind of feel cheated. There are three specific people I have in mind, and this sort of dynamic seems to play it out differently with each of them. Let's call them Larry, Moe and Curly. Larry and Curly are both text messaging fiends. Moe is more of an IM guy (and Moe reads this occasionally, and I bet he figures out who he is. Smart guy, that Moe. I wave to him right now. Hi "Moe")

I should say that all three stooges are fairly new friends of mine, so I guess I'm still in the stage of "getting to know" them. I met Moe back in November though, and now I have a fairly good idea of what kind of guy he is. But most of that is based on talking to him online. I don't really mind, it's the easiest way to talk to him. He's a busy guy and he lives, I would say, about 20 miles away. So I don't actually get to see him in person very often. So we talk on IM, and it's not so bad. He saved me from completely going postal at JobOfDeath. The thing is, hanging out with him in person, it kind of takes a while to get warmed up, or something. It's almost harder to innterract in real time because we spend most of our time talking online. It's not that bad, and it passes quickly, I guess. But it's kind of a weird nagging feeling I get when I see him. Of course, we've also done just about everything possible to make our relationship an awkward one, that certainly doesn't help. Moe is maybe not the best example of what I'm talking about really. But I couldn't just have two stooges, could I?

So, lets go on to Curly. Curly is a very new acquaintance. I met him a few weeks ago and have been "texting" (cringe... still can't stomach that word. It makes my skin crawl) back and forth. He is one of those people who spend all their time tapping out insipid little messages on their phone. Don't get me wrong, he's a decent guy, but his interpersonal relating could use some work. Hanging out with him in person, the conversation seem kind of stilted and awkward. All the pacing is off and it's not very engaging. Oh, and the other day, he actually called me! That was a disaster! I told him a while ago that I'm not a huge fan of the text messages, so I guess that's why he decided to call instead. I don't think I've ever had a more awkward phone conversation! I guess a basic principal of phone etiquette gets lost with text. Don't call if you don't have anything to say (it's super cool to sit on the phone not saying anything, oh wait, no it's not). If you send a text with nothing to say, it can easily be ignored. Real time conversations don't really work that way.

Larry is a shining example of how things can work well. He text messages just as much as Curly, but it doesn't have any kind of adverse effect on the way he actually interacts with people. He's a joy to be with in person and the text message conversations I've had with him are mostly just silliness (though there have been a few that were a little... weighty). The point is that he doesn't rely on typed technology to take care of all his communication needs.

Ok. I acknowledge that text-messaging etc is not entirely to blame for the way these guys act in person. Each of their personalities play a larger role than their chosen medium for communicating. But it's just an interesting thing to observe. They are each as good as the other when it comes to the short, written, back and forth. When it comes to real life interaction though, they are as different as... three completely different things.

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