A love/hate relationship with the white box

I’m quite torn right now. While I adore what online communication has done for keeping in touch with friends far away, I’m growing restless.

I’m really tired of talking to people through tiny white boxes. I miss faces and voices.

Think about it. Text messages, wall posts, emails, Facebook messages, Skype chat, Gmail chat, Facebook chat. Tiny white boxes.

Don’t get me wrong; These bits of technology have allowed me to keep in touch with many of my friends in a really convenient way. Instant messaging allows you to talk in semi-real time while you do other things, like study, design, are in class, etc. Emails allows me to write more and organize my thoughts at weird hours when people might not be free to talk in person. I feel that these textular conversations get a bad rap because they’re “substituting for reality,” but I’m here to defend them, partially at least. Many of my friends and I probably wouldn’t talk as much if it weren’t for these forms of communication. I’ve had some really serious/deep/meaningful conversations over these chat programs or through text messages. It’s possible, and part of me thinks it’s becoming more legitimate.

Back in junior high, telling some on you had a crush on them over AOL Instant Messenger, AIM, if you will, was really typical, but also considered really juvenile, and I think this stigma has stuck. But what if the person you want to talk to is 800 miles away? Sure, you could call them or even Skype them, which I realize I need to do more, but I feel that emails and instant messaging are becoming more and more popular and have gained a little more clout. What about when people used to communicate through letters? You might say, “Yeah, but they didn’t have much other choice then.” Just because their feelings were written out in words doesn’t mean they meant any less. I think you could argue similarly for instant messages and emails of today.

That being said, I really miss my friends’ faces and voices. I was honestly really frustrated by this earlier this week. I’m tired of talking to people’s icons, avatars and profile pictures, especially when the image isn’t even of the actual person. I am so incredibly excited to go to Texas tomorrow and see people I haven’t seen in 1, 3 or even 6 months. I am ecstatic to hear their voices and examine their facial expressions and just be in their physical presence. Because while I love chatting with friends, it’s losing it’s charm three months out.


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