21st Century Communication and how it is quietly undermining the games people play

Many people criticize social media and the various modes of communication we now have the luxury of using on a daily basis.  But I have always thought that they add to the human experience, or certainly have the potential to. I love words. I’m a self-proclaimed word nerd.  I get excited about beautiful turns of phrase (did you see how I pluralized that? correctly?), little known words used in daily speech, all manners of plays on words, puns (except the corny ones), literary and pop culture references. As a result, I think people give too little credit to the art of crafting various electronic communications. Texting, email, twitter, Facebook statuses, and yes, blogs.  I even like memes, although I have to admit that introducing an image needs to be artful to be effective.

Perhaps I am very fortunate, or just clever in my friend choices and choice of those that I follow.  I am rarely subjected to the banal Facebook status updates, such as:

I don’t know how I can go on without my kitty cat, Smokey. You were the best cat who ever lived. I know you’re in kitty heaven now.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/funny-8148-top-10-worst-facebook-status-updates/#ixzz2wHUrqrWV

I performed a Facebook purge fairly recently though, so I suppose I have that to thank. The friends that I text with regularly either have something to say, or at least don’t expect me to be waiting at my phone to immediately text back when they have a pressing concern such as:

HEY, do you remember the name of Mr. Dressup’s sidekick?

I don’t know anyone except my mom WHO WRITES ALL IN CAPS WITH MANY! MANY!!! EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!! And she is turning seventy this year, so I think she gets a pass on that one.  I am simply impressed that she knows how to use a computer and actually does use a laptop on a daily basis. I follow Jennifer Lawrence (my current girl crush) and Bill Murray on twitter, as well as Jon Stewart; my actual twitter friends post things of either social importance (really – they are those kinds of friends) or really, really funny. In fact, my primary complaint about social media is that people my age (in our forties) often don’t use social media. So my two best friends from high school, with whom it is difficult to stay in touch, have remained sadly out of the loop of silly photos and high school reminiscences that I have enjoyed since reconnecting with old friends on Facebook, now scattered across Canada.

And finally, my recent, profound discovery about the possible existence of a silent revolution in the male human’s ability to communicate verbally.

They will text you stuff they will NEVER, EVER say out loud to you. Unless they have known you for years and years, anyway.

It’s pretty cool. I know that parents agonize over the racy photos and texts that are racing around among their teenaged progeny. I have remained on the fence on this burning social issue for awhile. And I will leave aside that possible negative for now.

However,  I am now prepared to take a stand, just like I was in law school when I was the only female student who came out in favour of strippers after a Bachelor Party Scandal at the law college (I would like to say that this was an effective way to get dates, but alas, I was already dating someone and he already knew I was pretty great.)  Perhaps I should be mortified that the only raging social issue on which I took a stand in law school was strippers-or-no-strippers, but time has borne me out.  Sexuality and how we define it is becoming an issue of importance in a way that it was not in the nineties.  So there, I was obviously ahead of my time.

And my research has established the following (I think writing and collecting material could possibly be the best gig in the universe. FANTASTIC).  Men won’t generally say to your face, shortly after meeting you, things like (or in some cases, even before meeting you):

1.  I feel like I already know you from Facebook.  If you are interested maybe we could go out and get to know each other (not stalkerish- just a blind date – it went very well, by the way)

2. What are you doing tonight? I want to see you.

3. You have beautiful eyes. Send me a pic.

4. (Read this in a heavy french accent for full effect:)

Ok if I tell you this you are a very hot woman good night

5.  I wanted to kiss you but I left because I wasn’t sure that I should.

6. I was thinking about you today.

I mean, are you kidding me? Women love this shit. Sure, I’m sure there are guys out there that just go straight to “show me your tits” without even stopping to get your last name, but no progress is ever made without some pain, is it? And another thing: before texting, was there a man on earth (that a woman would ever sleep with, anyway) whose bag of tricks included:

a. winky face

b. Laughing smiley face

c. lol every second statement; and

d. TTYIALB? or even a simple BRB?

No. We were forced to wait for three days after the first date to either contact or be contacted. We were forced to wonder ad nauseum if our new crush was out with someone else, was thinking about us as much as we were thinking about him, would freaking well call us after three days of living hell. But now, somehow, we have created various media that somehow trick men into telling us either what they are really thinking, or even, from a cynic’s perspective, properly flattering sweet talk. AND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.  Frankly, I don’t care which one it is. It’s awesome. Well played Mark Zuckerberg, well played.

Oh yeah, and one more thing. I have not been a huge fan of the telephone-call-interrupting-what-you-are-doing-at-all-hours-of-the-day since, oh I don’t know, I was a teenaged girl. So the “can I call you in a bit?” text is, to me, quite literally, a gift from God. Alleluia.


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