The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Liz Monahan is no longer in a relationship with real people

Liz Monahan is not doing laundry because she will be on Facebook for the next 10 years of her sad, sad life.

Our generation has no paper trail. We no longer write letters; instead, we send texts. Face-to-face dialogue has become overrated. Why talk to your roommate when you can IM her from across the room? The newspaper as we know it is falling off the face of the Earth, and although the trees may be doing backflips about the situation, our social skills and personal relationships are suffering.

But, Facebook does have its benefits. I admit, I wouldn't wish hundreds of people a happy birthday each year if it weren't for the daily reminders. But the fact that people are spending more time talking to someone online than to someone's face, not only seems pitiful, but also physically unhealthy.

I have no room to judge because I check Facebook more times in one day than I've done my laundry this entire semester. I know what you're thinking: "She either has way too much clothing or she is absolutely foul." Neither are true. I'm just incredibly addicted to the communication tool of our college generation.

With the new chat accessory, Facebook has opened doors for instant access to other people. It allows us to speak to whomever is online at the time, a feature similar to that of AOL Instant Messenger. But there are differences between Facebook and AIM. With AIM, you can't waste three hours looking at bumper stickers, alter your status to make sure everyone knows what you're doing every hour and stalk your ex-boyfriend all at once, let alone at all.

The downside is that Facebook has altered our ability to be open, emotional and communicative people. What was once said over the phone is now written as a wall post. A fight between best friends used to be solved with "I messages" (I feel ____ when you _____ because_____), but lately a Facebook message will have to do the trick.

Speaking of friends, how many do you have? On Facebook, that is. Have you ever been "friended" by people whom you see every day? The situation often goes like this: You are officially Facebook friends. This is when you get lulled into a false sense of security. The next thing you know, you see them around campus so you decide to smile and say hello.

Then one of two things happens. 1) They look at you as if you have just pooped on the sidewalk because even though you are "friends," you're not actually friends, silly. Or 2) They whip out their cell phones to "text" quickly to avoid having to say hello at all.

What does this say about "friendships" made via the World Wide Web? It says a lot. It says that we are overconfident about our Web relations yet insecure about our interpersonal ones. It says we have to lay off the keyboard and go talk to someone.

"But what if I'm really bad at socializing?" you may ask. I'm no guru on making good conversation, but if you're really worried about your social skills, I'd recommend talking to little kids. They tend not to judge, partially because they are young and have yet to learn major social norms and partially because they aren't listening to you whatsoever.

Another thing we should do to improve the quality of our relationships is to bring back letter-writing. Think about the times when you've written on someone's wall and sat through class all antsy because you want to check and see if they've written back on yours.

The thought of the pending response is pleasant. Imagine if we wrote to each other. Receiving a letter would be 20 times more fulfilling because more time went into the creation and delivery of the message. And not only that, but it takes patience, restraint and other qualities worth having to be involved in a letter-writing friendship.

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Technology is a great tool. It has provided us with the ability to do phenomenal things and make many dreams possible. But I think we can all attest to the fact that we'd be sad and lonely in our tech-friendly world if it weren't for our good friends and healthy relationships.

Contact assistant opinion editor Liz Monahan at liz.monahan@richmond.edu

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