Many readers want to nominate this reader for a Poseur Alert. One writes:
That email has to be a parody. No one seriously uses terms like "meatworld interactions" or "social super-organisms" or "shared brain." But "I am to be shared" really put it over the top. This reader makes your case better than you ever could, whether or not he or she intended to do so.
Your reader wrote, "that my behavior becomes more acceptable all the time (especially with the 35 and under crowd) indicates there's something to it." What a load of crap. Telemarketing calls at dinner time came to be considered "more acceptable all the time" by telemarketers. Find a person getting the call who think its frequency indicates its acceptability.
Just this past weekend, I had the occasion to sit alone at a table with a friend of mine for 5 – 10 minutes. We hadn't had a lot of one-on-one conversation, but share the same group of friends. While I politely inquired about her family, her work, her hobbies, etc., she repeatedly whipped out her Blackberry to check the score of a hockey game and respond to Facebook messages. Every time she would put it back, she would say "I'm sorry, what? I had to check the score." After repeating my inquiries a number of times, I just settled for silence. After a few seconds of this, she went back to her Blackberry.
I found it less offensive than I found it contemptible. At the same time, the reason we found ourselves alone at the same table was that the rest of our party went outside for a smoke break. I found this equally offensive, for the same reasons. It shows that you are so lacking in self-control that you cannot police your behavior for one hour in which you should be a consummate guest and dinner companion.
And for the record, I am a constant texter, Wikipedia checker, and cigarette smoker. But when I go out to dinner, I respect that my companions' time is valuable and that I should endeavor to show them this respect by being interested, interesting, and engaging. And because I am an adult, and not a small child who cannot resist my baser urges, I keep my cigarettes at home or in my coat pocket, and I turn my phone off.
I have enjoyed the opinions on the ever-changing "social media" and manners. It all comes down to how you define a genuine relationship. You can connect with hundreds at one time, or you can connect in real conversations with people you actually care about.
I used to have a Facebook account and enjoyed it. It was a fun time-suck and I enjoyed knowing what my friends and acquaintances were up to. After about a year and a half I realized that I was actually losing more of a connection with these people than I was gaining. I knew when they graduated college, went on vacation, got married, etc. based on their Facebook status. But I missed feeling that excitement when they would tell me those things in an actual conversation.
I decided to delete Facebook. If I want to know how someone is doing I will call them and find out. It has been amazing to see the difference. I lost touch with lots of people, but relationships have been stronger because I have made genuine connections with those I truly care about.
Upon reading the post about online interaction supplanting real in person communication I came upon a stunning revelation that completely monopolized the rest of my day…. The Easter edition of Angry Birds is now available!