How we communicate with others has changed drastically in my 37 years. As a little girl, we hand wrote thank you notes to our relatives for their extremely generous gifts. In college, email was starting up, and we emailed professors and fellow students and in my sister’s case even her boyfriend! (You have to realize the internet was just being created at that time, so no Yahoo! Or MySpace or even Google! believe it or not!) Growing up, the phone was THE way to communicate with friends and relatives. And I’m talking landlines here! Cell phones were probably starting up when I was in high school, and then the price was so outrageous and they were so physically large and heavy that only the corporate set owned them. I believe the first truly “mobile phones” were the giant sets installed in cars–literal car phones.
A year ago in May, we celebrated the birth of our daughter Emily. And instead of sending birth announcements, we had a massive email list of close friends and family to notify. So much for postage stamps!
Now, we have MySpace, which I originally got to keep up with a few friends and family members that were college-aged at the time. Now that’s almost obsolete with Facebook being my primary operating method. We even “Facebook” friends to cancel piano lessons, set up play dates, and arrange business meetings! It’s unbelievable–you almost don’t even need a personal email at times anymore!! Now Twitter–to me the best word to describe that is…..TIME CONSUMING! I have no desire to know what you ate for breakfast (unless you’re in some foreign exotic country) and that you’re not feeling well—I get this from Facebook if I feel like looking through my Wall….it’s almost to the point of too much information.
For my birthday the other day however, I woke up to over 50 Facebook wishes–they made my day! We’ve gotten so busy that sending a card or keeping track of so many friends’ birthdays is virtually impossible—so I am loving the fact that Facebook does that for me. I wouldn’t have posted half of the “HB” messages had they not popped up on my reminder scale. So this technology makes us at times even more graceful and thoughtful than we would be without it.
Now one of my very good and locationally-close girlfriends actually took me to lunch! So that was over the top awesome. It just shows that even with technology, the personal touch and time spent is no replacement over technology. I will definitely keep that in mind for paying that forward to the next b-day friend! As one Marine that was transferring to a new duty station once said in his going away speech, “There is no greater gift you can give someone than your time.” Absolutely true!
So with that in mind, line up for lunch, friends, and the next time I need something, maybe I should just pick up the phone and call you (on my landline!).
Ruly Ruth’s Communication Profile:
Most common way to communicate with family? E-mail
Most common way to communicate with friends? Facebook and texting–it’s a tie
Most common way to communicate with business contacts? E-mail
How often do you check Facebook? Daily–once or twice.
For fun, I also asked Ruth to indicate how she would respond to the following socially challenging Facebook situations:
|You Forgot Me!
Someone who publicly complains about friends not inviting them places or complains when they see vacation photos, party photos, etc. from an event they wish they had been invited to.
Example: Great party! Wish I had been there rather than sitting at home watching re-runs on TV. 🙁
|You forgot me . . . online!
Someone who whines that they feel slighted because no one wished them a Happy Birthday/Happy Anniversary, congratulations on a job promotion, pregnancy, etc.
Example: Thanks to everyone who remembered my birthday yesterday . . . not!
The overly personal post
Trying to pass off deep, intense thoughts, better confessed to a therapist, as a quick Facebook update.
Example: Happy Father’s Day! All alone today while my sleazy ex-husband has the kids.
The Awkward Moment
Miscommunications, too much information, conflicts between friends. Like witnessing an accident, you don’t want to look but you can’t look away.
Example: Great to see you the other day. Remind me, when are you due?
Umm….I’m not pregnant.
If you are the person making the dumb comment, is it better to apologize publicly or privately?
Turning all discussions into something about your kids or posting overly-cutesy or TMI posts about your children.
Example: Sorry to hear about your dad’s visit to the hospital. Sadie got a terrible cold this weekend and we debated bringing her there too.
Do you have a Facebook etiquette question for Ruly Ruth? How would you handle the above situations? Tips to pass on yourself? Please share in the comments.