Communication Obsession

March 9, 2009
By Alan Beaty BRONZE, Benton, Arkansas
Alan Beaty BRONZE, Benton, Arkansas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It was the single most tiring week of summer ' the week-long purgatory of band camp. It was 11:30 P.M., and I could barely keep my eyes open.

I collapse onto bed, hoping for the relief of much-needed sleep, when I hear my roommate. The annoying 'Clickclickclick' of a cell phone's keypad mocks my attempts at rest, while the bright white light of the screen illuminates the room. After 20 minutes, the light finally goes out, and I can sleep. The next morning, I wake to the sound of him complaining about the 30 new text messages he received in the six hour period while he was asleep. Thinking about this, I begin to wonder: What exactly possesses people to give up so much time, effort, and money into constant communication? A majority of the time, the messages are either pointless, or only serve to escalate and worsen the already pathetic condition of teenage social drama. Unfortunately, it seems that the usefulness of texting has been put aside, and the purpose has been twisted into an addiction.

As another example of how bad the situation can be, take my family's most recent Thanksgiving dinner. My cousin was agitated over the fact that some members of the family suggested that she stop texting during the dinner. She also began to panic when she misplaced her cell phone charger. Another example: I saw on the news that a California teenager received a phone bill over 400 pages in length, with enough text messages averaging to about 430 a day. In each scenario, a person was obviously addicted, devoting all their time and energy to superfluous communication.

Even aside from texting, the same obsession manifests itself in social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Like texting, they can be useful, but more often than not, they're used to update and inform their friends of every frivolous thought, emotion, or idea that runs through their heads. And then everyone using it pretends that they care about the equally frivolous emotions, locations, or idle thoughts their friends, acquaintances, or people that happen to live in the same county as them. For the most part, nobody using these methods of communication seems to notice that their friends status updates aren't relevant to their existence, and that they really probably don't care about it. And yet, for some reason, the fully absurd action of constant communication of statuses continues.

At some point, we've become slaves to our own creation, caught in an endless cycle of texting and status updating. New technologies have given us tools that allow anyone to connect and communicate with anyone else at almost any time, yet at some point, the purpose of this was lost on us. New possibilities have given us new obsessions, the new technology used to continually send an unhindered stream of drivel. Meaningful conversation has given way to endless short bursts of the most shallow, irrelevant thoughts. And the only response that society can offer in return is a clear, resounding 'lol'.

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