Electronic kisses

Originally uploaded by fensterbme
Originally uploaded by fensterbme

It was Valentine’s weekend for some. For me it was just another weekend spent grading student blogs. But after reading an article in the UK’s Telegraph online newspaper titled, Valentine’s Day: Technology is killing romance,” one of my students wrote a blog entry weighing the article’s premise that, because of technology, people don’t write love poems or letters to each other anymore. She said that a survey of over two-thousand people revealed that 62% had never sent a love letter (via the postal service). At the same time most everyone said that they had sent a text-message love note. My student shrugged that even though a text message isn’t anywhere as good as a real love letter, a text message is better than nothing. I’ve heard this one before: if it’s not on paper, written by hand, it’s just not as real. I don’t mean to be cruel or even crude, but I think that’s just bullshit.

Well, I was a little gentler when I began my response:

I’m curious, what is it in an electronic Valentine’s message that make is not “expressing yourself with your own thoughts”? I’ve been known to use every communication means at my disposal to let my beloved know that I was thinking of her. From 140 character text messages, to “Hello” IMs, to overly long voice-messages, to rambling emails, I found the “electronic” experience to have a certain level of “presence” that I didn’t experience before. Granted I might have over-used said technologies.. a bit… resulting in … let’s just say that my options are very flexible these days. But that’s not because of technology, that’s because some folks just don’t know how to put one word after another in a coherent (and passionate) manner. What’s that old saying about a good painter never blaming his tools…

long-haired writer
long-haired writer

On a completely different note I was just told by a potential “match” that my e-Harmony profile photo was “a little scary.” WTF? It makes one second guess. The photo is dark and pencil-sketchy. Does that translate into dangerous and scary? I haven’t taken an official teacher-photo in several years so I’ve been using Photo-booth pix. Good thing I didn’t use any of the fun-house effects. I really shouldn’t let these things bother me, but I do wonder at how often I’ve been bumped off because of some misperception beginning with my profile photo. Then again, someone unable to appreciate something a little artsy probably isn’t going to work well with my continual self-assessment and re-interpretations of my self. Damn. Of course, having posted this photo of myself for the millionth time, I probably come off as totally self-obsessed and self-absorbed. I switched my profile photo to a “I voted” shot, which will probably piss off someone because it’s “political.” sigh.

Source: Adams, J. (2009, February 9). Valentine’s Day: Technology ‘is killing romance’. Telegraph. Retrieved http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/technology/technologynews/4568243/Valentines-Day-Technology-is-killing-romance.html

One Comment

  1. Ryan Swindoll

    OK, I’m a skeptic of techno-skepticism too, but I think the student is right saying “a text message isn’t anywhere as good as a real love letter, a text message is better than nothing.” It isn’t a question of the authenticity of a person’s heart, but the need for physicality in our communication.

    In my public speaking classes, we observe how a physical prop makes an unique impression upon a room, over and above powerpoint. I love how JJ Abrams uses his “mystery box” in his TED speech: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/j_j_abrams_mystery_box.html.

    The painter should question whether his tools are helping him become the painter he wants to be. Certainly it’s the painter’s obligation to maintain a wide berth of tools, but can you blame the student who hates the tool on behalf of all the people who misuse it?

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