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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Textiety and Other Social Networking Disorders

A new disorder has been sweeping the planet for years, and now it has a name. The person who frets for lack of ‘text traffic’ is loaded with old fashioned anxiety, but now of the texting kind.

This is particularly a problem for young people who haven’t known a world without texting, MySpace and Facebook etc.

I used to suffer from this, truth be told. When my wife and I courted I got a bit used to the sort of lovely text messages she’d send. When things cooled into a groove after the initial romantic onslaught wore off I was left for whole days at times without her text messages. I laugh now, but these times were honestly pretty harrowing.

So, I know where people are coming from who are forever checking their phones and emails for traffic.

Why the Cold Shoulder?

It’s the same with Facebook and other social networking devices. We can get very used to the high contact we receive and then when the inevitable low traffic times occur we wonder why no one wants to ‘talk’ to us, not considering that it’s just a quiet time and the world’s not truly trying to give us the cold shoulder!

There are still some people who don’t yet have Facebook accounts—or the penchant to frequent it daily or many times daily—or rarely send texts; for some of these they’d be wondering what all the fuss is about.

But it’s a real problem for many people.

The Reality Check

At the logical level we know that we need to address some of these dysfunctional characteristics—there’s a deeper need within us to connect with people and simply be affirmed.

Many times face-to-face contact with people—body fellowship—is the instant ‘fix’ for these types of ‘disorders,’ and the people who have the confidence to meet and visit people when they feel lonely have the answer. But, not everyone has this degree of confidence or the network of friends to support them.

The reality check we need is whenever we over-balance on our use of texting or Facebook etc, and become dependent upon (or even addicted to) it, we’re wise to respond and put up some safe boundaries around our use of them so we lessen the grip technology has on us. (The truth is, these dependencies and addictions that sit behind such anxieties are insidious—like all addictions, they tend to get worse and worse if they’re not dealt with.)

Addressing the issues requires planning, of course, and wisdom to know how to supplement our friendship contact needs and introduce balance to our lives again. Courage is also needed, no doubt, in taking the initial plunge.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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