While we do love our technology at Apartment Therapy, I personally also value real-world interactions. Connecting with people is very important, especially when moving to a new city as a post-college adult. But with busy schedules a given, meeting a friend over coffee isn't always on the table. When a face-to-face isn't option, what's the next best thing? Are frequent texts or instant messages better than less frequent phone calls?
As an introvert who routinely carries at least one touchscreen device wherever I go, the recent New York Times by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Your Phone vs. Your Heart, really hit home. Reading about the importance of meaningful social interactions in relation to cardiovascular system was kind of a wake up call. I knew I often feel better after a phone call with an old friend compared to receiving a text from her. But having vocal interactions shown to be health quantifiable was something else entirely.
After reading the piece and armed with the knowledge of the health connection, I decided to make an effort to increase the number of face-to-face interactions with friends. However, due to geographic limitations, I know this goal will remain the exception, not the rule.
What to do? Instinct tells me phone and voice conversations are the better option, but does their infrequency make text/instant messages more practical? I personally dislike text/instant message conversations, and tend to switch to voice whenever I can. I find it difficult to read nuance and prefer making meaningful connections via voice rather than through a series of short texts. If a voice call is not practical, exchanging emails as a sort of long-form version is my backup plan.
Younger siblings say I just don't "get it"...that I don't understand text messaging or Facebook, and that "no one uses voice". But for me, reading someone's update on a social network just doesn't have the same weight as a personal email sharing details of their life or sharing thoughts over a phone call. Sure, Snapchat could be considered a visual form of chat, but it's more of a quick "hey" than a real conversation.
Since we are on the topic of community, connections, and discussion, I can't think of a better way to learn from others than by opening up the topic. Which do you prefer: text or voice? Is it more about the quantity or the quality of hearing from friends and family? How do you keep in touch with friends and maintain meaningful social interactions?
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)