I gave up my car radio for Lent in an effort to use the silence to reflect on my day and spend some much needed time with God. However, I didn’t factor in my travel time to Athens, Georgia for Easter…which happens to be a 6 hour drive. (Bailee and I ran in a Color Run in Atlanta…see below)
But I did it…I didn’t listen to the radio for 6 hours. It gave me some incredible time to reflect. And in the midst of my silent travel I thought a lot about relationships and how I communicate with others.
Have you ever been hanging out with someone and they are constantly tapping away at their phone? Or it rings and they immediately grab it to answer a text message? Have you ever known someone who leaves their cell phone at home and they are thrown off all day? Have you ever been in a meeting or even at dinner with a person and they leave their phone on the table because they need to know IMMEDIATELY if they have a text message?
I am totally guilty of all of the above. The need for me to have my iPhone with me at all times was slowly starting to annoy me.
What happened to phone calls? To letters in the mail? To having face-to-face interactions without checking for text messages mid-conversation? While I am a huge fan of social media and text messages, I am a bigger fan of traditional communication.
SO, Saturday in Athens I decided to deactivate Facebook, stop using Twitter, and no longer use text messages for a week. I let my family and close friends know about my experiment so they wouldn’t think I was just being rude (I accidentally forgot to tell one good friend…he was seriously starting to believe I was kidnapped..whoops).
Through this entire experiment I’ve discovered a few things:
- Not depending on a cell phone feels incredible. I used to check it constantly to see if there was a new text, new tweet. etc. This past week I only needed it if I heard it ring.
- Since moving away from my homeland, I’ve depended a lot on texts and e-mail messages. My experiment forced me to call and have a conversation with a person even if I just needed a quick response. It was fantastic to catch up with someone I don’t talk to on a regular basis. And, in return, they seemed genuinely surprised/happy to have a conversation.
- Me not using my phone made it painfully more aware of others who cannot stop using theirs. I need to seriously study the addiction of cell phones.
I have reactivated Facebook and Twitter, and started texting again. However, I’ve promised myself not to use my cell phone when I am interacting with a person. And I’ve also promised myself to call my favorite people at least once a week to check in and hear their voices that I miss so much.
Social media has done amazing things for our generation, but reverting back to the olden days of conversations and hand written notes every once in a while isn’t so bad.