A few weeks ago, my iPhone 4 started blipping on me and shutting itself down whenever I tried to text or to push through a tweet to the few people who bother to follow me on Twitter.
I’m the type of person who keeps my phone near me when I sleep, and it’s always in my pocket. I’ve never counted how many times a day I check my Twitter account, but I can guarantee it’s not healthy. And I absolutely love texting! I have things to say! Other people are saying cool things! So, when my phone decided to betray me and no longer worked properly, I felt…lost.
Hi, my name is Roxanna, and I am in love with technology.
I am writing this article on my laptop. My iPad is tucked away somewhere in my room, and my new iPhone 5s plays my YouTube playlist in the background. My grad school classes are entirely online, and I check in using their app on my phone.
The majority of my job is online—I am a freelance writer and work from home. I research by Googling over the Web, and I send emails to sources to set up my interviews.
It’s gotten to the point where my entire identity is tied up with technology. Who would I be if I weren’t writing online or posting to my Twitter account? I wouldn’t be able to attend a big school in NYC while still living in the Cleveland area without technology, that’s for sure. My world would be so much…smaller. So much more limited.
And I’m not alone in my love for technology. According to the Pew Internet Project, 90 percent of Americans have a cell phone and just a little over half own a smartphone. Forty-two percent of Americans own a tablet device, like an iPad. Oh, and who sleeps with their phones next to our beds? Nearly half of us!
Does this mean we’re more connected? In a way, yes, it does. I can learn about underreported news by following certain people on Twitter, and I have also made several friends through the microblogging service. I tweet, text and Snapchat my friends (and my crushes). My friends and I are so busy that if we didn’t communicate this way, we probably wouldn’t communicate at all. It would be much easier to lose contact with someone without the current technology.
But it’s possible to not be very connected at all, even with WiFi access. You can send a Snapchat but never text or call someone. You can favorite a few tweets yet never speak to that person. Sure, your friends could know everything that’s going on in your life by reading through your Facebook or Twitter posts, but that passive communication doesn’t really help anyone know you. Real connection requires action and communication that goes in both directions. It goes beyond the surface.
Even knowing this to be true, I still love my smartphone, tablet and social media accounts. Maybe that’s because I am an introvert and a writer, and social media allows me to express myself in the most comfortable way. I have engaged in some of the deepest and most thought-provoking conversations online that I rarely have in my face-to-face interactions. I’m able to gather my thoughts when I can write them down before sharing them, which is not something you can do when you’re chatting at a party.
So no, I won’t be quitting technology any time soon, and there’s no doubt that I will be adding to my repertoire of the ways I stay connected with my friends and make new ones. Bring it on!