I have grown up in the age of the development of constant contact and a world where no conversation can die. No matter how bad it wants you to let it go, how bad it wants to rest in a place more peaceful. Instead, it goes on, tied to a machine with any piece of life pumped into it. Meaningless ongoing conversations have so many mediums to be transmitted that we never really take a chance to pull the plug and let them die.
I feel like over the last 15 years I have watched something so genuine and healthy turn into a sad, unhealthy, lifeless form that is plugged into every machine, and even wirelessly, unable to die.
Conversations used to be genuine, and real. When I had something to ask my brother, I would wait for him to get home and we would talk about it. If I had not talked to my grandmother for a while, I would make an effort to drive to her house, eat her delicious cooking, and have a real conversation about life. After I spent the afternoon catching up on all of the family gossip (because grandma knows all) I would say goodbye, and go home. The conversation would have met its maker, and it would die. It did not die in vain, it just past on, and went to where conversations are supposed to go, memories.
I remember when I was in middle school, and the internet went into every home. This was an amazing breakthrough. After you got your computer hooked to the phone line and waited for it to dial up. You watched it dial, heard the crazy fax machine like sounds. Finally, after about 5 minutes of getting online and your homepage loading, it was time to chat. It all started with emails. You could send a personal message to someone and they could receive it anytime anywhere, as long as they were tied to a computer and phone line. ICQ was the first instant messenger that was popular in my area and then went straight into a new and improved Microsoft Instant Messenger. I am sure you all remember the green and blue head and body icons that came along with it.
So, that’s how it started, you got yourself a new cool “Hotmail” account and you were ready to chat. If you were really cool, and had expensive internet, you could get an AOL account. (I heard it was better, but couldn’t get to that level)
My first phone was a Motorola flip phone. It had analog signal, and as long as you were in a good place for signal, and you had the antenna pulled out, it was capable of making phone calls. The idea that I could call anyone anywhere was wonderful at the time, but it is just another poison for the already dying conversation.
In my undergraduate years, I finally got to the next level of phones, color screen and even a camera. During this time, a new concept had hit the heart of the genuine conversation, Texting. I fought and fought about how dumb it would be to type out a message. All I could think about is how much work that is, and I made the decision, I will just call.
People started texting me, and I realized it was just like email, I could send a personal message to anyone I want, from anywhere I want, and they can get back to me when they get the chance. I don’t have to stop what I am doing for this conversation, I can continue on my day, and have a conversation without even putting effort in. Text messages are one of the biggest culprits for this downfall of the genuine conversation. Conversation had completely lost its mannerisms. There is no way to judge the emotion in a text conversation, everything gets taken out of context, and you are just left wondering if you had a good conversation, or if that smiley face was sarcastic. We lost the ability to spell correctly, enunciate, or even be honest if we thought something was funny. During genuine conversation, if something is funny, we laugh… LOL, LMFAO, HAHA, HEHE, TTYL, BRB, ILY, IDK, WTF. What a joke… This conversation deserves to die, let it.
During my junior year at Purdue, I was introduced to next great thing… FACEBOOK. How great was this breakthrough. I could be friends with people I don’t even know, try to generate a BS conversation with them, and even act interested.
I could put on there if I was interested in a relationship, and if I found a girl I thought was attractive, I could poke her. Maybe she will poke back. She didn’t poke back. What does this mean? Does she not think I am pretty? Oh I might not be pretty. Let me find out real quick. So I post a selfie (I took 5 or 6 and got the best one). AHHHH. YESSSSS. 34 likes and 14 people told me “great pic.”
This isn’t real Life.
This is us holding onto a dead conversation, hoping to find some support from people we don’t genuinely want to talk to.
Since then, there have many so many new social media sites that only let you post pictures or you have to live your life in 140 characters or less, and all you care about is having more followers than people you are following. That is real satisfaction, Right?
Even better news, about six and a half years ago, the latest and greatest breakthrough for killing all genuine conversations became real. The first generation IPhone. This put all of you mediums to constant contact from text, to Facebook, to Instagram, (which works well because you can just snap a new picture with your phone and post immediately) in the palm of your hand. You can make these lifeless conversations go on and on, anywhere you want and never let them die.
Over the last 15 years I have seen the development of Email, Instant Messenger, Cell Phones, Text Messaging, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and any amount of other social media. And above all, I have seen the slow downfall of genuine conversation to a lifeless, heartless, emotionless, form of interaction that is only holding on by a thread. We never let them just pass away and move on to MEMORIES.
I am going to make a movement to Pull the Plug, Disconnect a Dying Conversation, and let myself cherish the memory of a conversation.
I am going to lock my Social Media accounts, and have someone I care about change the password. I am going to start with one month and see how much I miss the social world.
I want to rejuvenate the life of the Genuine Conversation. I want to have face to face conversations and real phone calls about things that matter. I want to go see my nieces, nephews, and not rely on pictures online to watch these kids grow. I want to genuinely become a part of someone’s life, not just “Facebook Official.”
have spent 15 years, tumbling down the path to lifeless conversations. I am going to pull the plug, and say goodbye to the conversations that have no meaning, no emotion, no life.
Goodbye for now Facebook and text messages, I am moving on.