The Death of Social Interaction (Portrayed by the Cast of Bye Bye Birdie)

My track record of avoiding useless internet arguments exploded today when I was confronted with an article from the New York Times, stating that people have pretty much stopped using the telephone.

Apparently, in the last five years, humans from prepubescent tweendom to full-fledged adulthood have seemingly given up the telephone — land line, mobile, voice mail and all. According to Nielsen Media, even on cellphones, voice spending has been trending downward, with text spending expected to surpass it within three years.

Okay, fine. We all know this to be fairly true, not to mention I’m pretty sure that the New York Times likes to publish semi-true “controversial” facts just to get you to pay for their subscription.

But surely,” my inner voice retorted. “SURELY I am not one of those people. I love my phone! I’m just so sure that I use it all the time!!

So, since my curiousity was piqued, I went back and looked through my call history – Home, Dad, Mom, Dad, Home, Home, Brother, Dad, Grandparents, Home, CVS Pharmacy, Home, Wrong Number, Dad, Home. I don’t even really call my boyfriend or my brother; we are digital children who let our thumbs do the talking (also, skype).

Feeling slightly sheepish, I wondered who I am missing out on calling besides my family.

The answer? No one. There’s this thing called Facebook (maybe you’ve heard of it?), and it’s basically eliminated the need for dialing an arbitrary digital sequence associated with a person in your life. And actually, I think I’ve been hit on more via text/facebook/skype/twitter than in person. It’s easier to type “lookin’ good!” or “sexy dress!” or leave a My Face When link rather than physically walk up to the desired female and make that face for yourself.

Our world is changing, and therefore how we interact is changing as well. IANd ‘m not entirely sure I like it.

I am not dissing the entire digital age – I love all things Apple, grew up the daughter of an ex Cupertino Apple techie, and check at least 15 websites daily. But, there’s something inside of me, some Scarlet O’Hara-esque longing for the forgotten days of physical interaction. And now, it seems, that even the social phone call is dead.

Remember, friends, when we used to talk on the phone for HOURS about the mayhem that ensued in Spanish class that day? Or about the cute guys on the track team? Or whether a “time warp” could really exist? I know I’m not THAT old, but I feel like we’re really losing something special here.

Does anyone really think social media does a better job in creating real communication between individuals?

Would Bye, Bye Birdie really be BETTER using social media, rather than the brilliant invention of Alexander Graham Bell?


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