They say admitting it is the first step. Well, envision me sitting in a circle, surrounded by others holding cell phones and tablets, madly typing away. It’s my turn to speak. I nervously confess, “My name is Kim and I am a smartphone, technology, social media loving-aholic.”
After reluctantly joining the world of social media almost 5 years ago, I have become, well, a little addicted to it. First it was Facebook, then Pinterest, then Twitter (which I still don’t really see the point of), and most recently Instagram. I don't really think that I am addicted--I could quit if I had to (I think...maybe...I’m not sure). However, it could be worse. I’ve seen some people on TLC’s show My Strange Addiction and those people eat ashes from their deceased spouse’s urn, toilet paper, or human blood. Some are addicted to inflatable animals, licking their cat, or bathing in urine. See, social media not so bad, huh?
Since writing can be like therapy, let’s delve into my childhood to see where this all stems from. For whatever reason, I loved getting mail as a kid. I couldn’t wait for the mailman (or woman) to arrive at my mailbox. I would rush down the driveway and hope for a letter. Back then, I really did get actual snail mail letters because we didn’t have the technology of today. It would usually be from my grandparents or a pen pal. I had over 100 pen pals and I did my best to keep up with all of them, but at some point I really just focused on my few favorites. And believe it or not, I recently found all those letters that I’ve had stored in boxes in our eaves.
Why did I like getting mail so much? I’m not really sure. It was fun and exciting to hear from people. I liked reading about their lives and I liked writing to them about my life. This really translates to the technology of today. Emails, texts, and Facebook allow me to keep in touch with people. I’m no longer waiting for letters in the mail, but I hear the ding on my phone or the little red flag indicating some type of correspondence and I quickly see who it is. I all too frequently find myself picking up my phone, iPad, or laptop to check and see what is going on in the world around me. Today’s electronic communication also provides that instant gratification I didn’t have when I was waiting for letters to come in the mail. If a letter didn’t come one day, I never had to check the mailbox the rest of the day because mail only comes once a day. Now communication can come 24 hours a day. Is that too much?? Are we overdoing it? Are our brains becoming too saturated with “stuff”? There are times I feel like I have ADHD with my technology. I go from Facebook, to clicking on Pinterest, to clicking on Instagram, to checking my texts, and then e-mails. Why do I do it? I have no idea. Even as I sat here writing this, I paused to read Facebook and then I had to go check the texts that I heard chime in on my phone. It’s distracting and time consuming, yet I keep doing it. It also makes me wonder what will come next in our lives. As a kid while I was handwriting a letter on pretty stationery, I never imagined that one day there would be some other way to write to others. I guess only time will tell what the next 20 years will bring.
And, if you ever feel like writing a letter or sending a card, I still get excited when something other than a bill arrives in my mailbox.