Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A small diatribe...

Okay, so this might be the pot calling the kettle black seeing as I have a blog, Facebook, and am an active user/abuser of gchat. Not only that, but I do have a BlackBerry, which affords me constant connection to my email, text messages, and phone calls. In the recent flurry of job-related endeavors, school work, and fun spring events, I have become acutely aware of the number of available social networking devices and am frankly slightly overwhelmed. I recently re-watched "He's Just Not That Into You" for the first time since I saw it in theaters. I loved when Mary at one point laments, "I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies." Mary, I feel you - its too much. This realization came about this morning in my 9:30 class, which was a negotiations exercise on job-related maneuvers (read: teach engineers how to communicate effectively). Not everyone knows how to discuss things in a professional manner, which I realized when the boy next to me asked if children could be used as "leverage" in a business deal. Anyway, the root of the hypothetical negotiation was an employee whose boss wanted him to relocate to the San Diego office despite his desire to remain at the Richmond office with his family. After discussion, my professor wondered why more people didn't discuss "telecommuting" from the Richmond office, or a part time residence in San Diego with home base in Richmond. When she got 50 blank stares, her response was, "well, you ARE the Facebook generation." While her point is definitely valid, by no means do any of these internet/technologically-based networking devices substitute effectively for face to face communication. Its definitely nice to be able to keep in touch with friends and family so actively; I know my high school friends and I have remained close in part to our weekly email threads. Not only that, but the ability to communicate with people over the course of the day makes accomplishing pretty much everything easier. However, I think those of us labeled the "Facebook" generation need to be pretty careful to make sure we can separate ourselves from the technology. As someone who is making a conscious effort to remove the cell phone from its position as an extension of her right hand, I think taking a step back is just plain necessary sometimes.

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