I finally broke down at the mall yesterday and got myself a smart phone with a data plan. So now I have this blog along with email and Facebook and the entire internet in my pocket every minute of every day. Oh yeah, and I have a phone with reliable reception, too. I need never be out of touch with anyone ever again.
Here’s the funny thing, though. My fully plugging into the modern communications grid is not going to change certain fundamental facts. My phone will not ring more often now. Viewership of this blog will not increase, and those who do visit will not post more comments. The email trickle will not become a deluge. My friends will not post more often on Facebook or respond to what I post there any more than they already do. I can now just be that much more aware that, in fact, nobody is going to be trying any harder than they currently are to get in touch with me.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I love to keep in touch. I used to write multi-page letters by hand, then by computer, now by email, to anyone who would send me a letter back. I used to send postcards when I went on vacation; now I post pictures on Facebook. I call my family a couple of times a week. I send birthday cards. I check my email first thing in the morning, last thing at night and all throughout the day. I am ready, willing and able to respond to nearly any communication salvo fired over my bow because that’s what I do: I communicate.
But with a few notable and much-appreciated exceptions, most of my friends and acquaintances do not return the sentiment, let alone the salvo. Emails, chat messages, wall postings and voicemails to them seem to disappear right into the ether. There are days when one feels both invisible and inaudible.
I’m looking forward to using my new phone to do cool things like scanning QR codes and navigating through traffic and posting pictures to Facebook as soon as I take them. So many fun and useful tools are now at my fingertips. But the one thing I most want my phone to do is keep me in touch with the people I care about.