So I was writing a post about how shaming people for their use of technology is ableist.
It went sideways into an essay about generational attiudes toward phones, and got derailed by a conversation with Hannah.
A transcript of said conversation is below, for your enjoyment.
Edit: I hate wordpress and had to manually insert paragraph breaks. It probably needs more formatting, but this should be readable now.
Rose: You know, I see memes about, “back in my day we talked to people instead of using our phones” and “the internet makes everybody antisocial” etc all the time. But, when I want one, I can’t figure out how to pull it up in a search engine.
Hannah: “Put down your phone meme” on images gets a lot, not so many of the “alas, it’s such a shame” ones.
Hannah: *sees one about “people put their phones facedown on the table when they’re cheating on you”* People do that so they can’t see the screen when they’re talking to you, but so they can still pick up their phone easily the ten thousand times you actually want your phone during a conversation.
Rose: What I’m trying to explain is like, “Young people USE THEIR PHONES to get information while talking to each other, not avoid each other.”
Hannah: Yeah. I’ll even text the friends I’m standing and talking to, because we’re like sending immediate written reminders of the plans we just made.
Rose: See, I still have to think about that. People are like “Oh, I’ll just check the internet” or send each otheor data and I have to remember that google is on the phone now and you don’t need a piece of paper. Most people my age? No clue.
Hannah: Yeah I don’t have a smartphone, so I have like lists of things I need to google when I get home, but the only way I get by without one is using other people’s and my Kindle. I would’ve died of starvation trying to get out of Atlanta like a million times otherwise.OR. OR. We’re standing there on campus and one (or more) of us is texting somebody who isn’t there. So friends can like telecommute to the conversation and don’t get left out. (Again, this is frequently done when we’re making plans to GO DO SOMETHING TOGETHER. In a group. With each other.)
Rose: lol. I think a lot of older people see that as a problem, like “back in my day, we just REMEMBERED or had PLANNER, that’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do, all this dependence on technology makes them unable to do anything for themselves, blah blah blah…” But actually the tech makes people more self-sufficient because they can find what they need faster and DON’T HAVE TO worry about forgetting things. And the whole texting while making plans goes over people’s heads because they’re used to needing a phone tree and/or driving to talk to the third party and having to make all the plans way in advance. They don’t get that if you can communicate instantly, you don’t need to do all that legwork. It’s just a different way of getting things done, but because they are used to thinking of technology as a barrier, they don’t understand that if you’re COMFORTABLE with technology, it’s a tool.
Hannah: Yeah I’ve explained a million times that “on your phone” isn’t a thing you do instead of something else, it’s how you do all the things you’d be doing anyway. (And if the thing you’d be doing is “ignore your parents,” I’m pretty sure people have done that without phones for a long time too.)
Rose: I think all they see is like a bunch of people not verbally engaging, therefore context doesn’t compute. Like you just walk by and see a bunch of people on phones. They don’t get the concept that the phone is a conversation tool and it doesn’t make the conversation different because it’s happening in text.
Hannah: Yeah Also: In my experience, someone sending an unrelated text has never hampered a verbal conversation from general up to semi-significant, and people don’t actually text during significant to crucial verbal conversations.
Rose: Me neither.
Hannah: (Granted, this sample size is very small because the majority of my significant to crucial conversations happen via some sort of prose. )
Rose: I think it is a little distracting for older people. I’m used to it, but if you’re not, it feels like the person isn’t engaged/paying attention, but no more so than call waiting.
But my whole point is that, just because -I-might feel less engaged or whatever, that doesn’t mean that’s what’s HAPPENING if all the people involved in the conversation don’t feel that way.
Hannah: Yeah I don’t with older people, largely because I have no reason to related to the conversation (although in my contexts they frequently want me to text somebody else for information…) but also because I know they’ll think I’m not paying attention. Most (younger) people aren’t going to give it that much thought and figure since it’s not distracting them it’s not a problem, OR yes the text conversation may be more important to them, but that’s probably because of content rather than the relationship. If it is the relationship, that’s the relationship’s problem, not the phone’s.
Rose: Yeah. I have a hard time following verbal conversations with more than one person and -any- kind of distraction throws me off, so it took actual effort for me to adjust to people texting mid-conversation. (This is why my primary mode of communication is chat and I take offense about the anti-phone/technology thing. )
I can think and communicate much more clearly when I can go back to what was said earlier in a conversation and slow down to think of what I want to say.
Hannah: Yeah I’ve gotten more used to multi-person conversations and it’s not a problem with the in-group, but it’s still much more comfortable to converse online and it has a lot of other benefits, llike being able to consider everything that’s being said, fact-check yourself as you go along, asynchronous exchanges, etc.
Rose: Yeah. One of my biggest problems when my family is here is the competing threads of conversation. Because they all talk at the same time/talk over each other and everybody wants my attention every other second. It’s like, “YO! I have brain damage, remember?” “Me–*staving off panic attack while 4 people are asking questions at once and several other conversations are going on* @.@*”
Hannah: *sigh and nod*
Rose: https://cellout2014.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/tumblr_mtldexodtz1qb2u78o1_500.jpg?w=647&h=506 This is the best one ever. Because, yes, all those people would totally be talking to each other if they didn’t have phones.
Hannah: *carky* Yeah.
Rose: You know what used to happen when I was at college? People walked down the sidewalk with headphones on, reading books.
Hannah: There’s a nice meme of a bunch of people reading newspapers on a train, “All this newfangled technology is making us antisocial.”
Rose: ALL THOSE LAZY STUDENTS NEVER READ OR LISTEN TO MUSIC…oh, it’s on their phones.
Rose: I wish I could find that one, I love it.
Hannah: *carky* Yeah Hang on, I’ll look.
Hannah: Contained within this article which misses the entire point you’re making. https://medium.com/alt-ledes/stop-sharing-this-photo-of-antisocial-newspaper-readers-533200ffb40f#.7q62z5cxd
Hannah: I also like the thing of the person in the library at the bottom, although I don’t know if it’s stealable. “LOL, all this technology is overwhelming us with information, amirite?” SAAAAME THIIIIIING.
Rose: I skimmed that article, and I’m already like “YOU ARE STUPID. CONVERSATIONS ARE HAPPENING ON THE PHONE WHILE PEOPLE ARE ON THE INTERNET, THAT’S THE ONLY DIFFERENCE.”
Hannah: YES. The phones are MORE SOCIAL than the newspapers.
Hannah: Also: The number of times someone has shown me their phone and said “look at this/read this article” = basically all the times I’ve sat next to someone I know.
Rose: Yeah The Internet is how I keep track of ALL THE ARTICLES I want to talk to my friends about Because, you know, all I have to do is type my friend’s name next to a link and we can BOTH SHARE THE ARTICLE WITH EVERYONE AT THE SAME TIME.
Rose: This is going to be a whole separate post at this rate.
Hannah: *carky* Well, it should also be pointed out that just because someone looks at their phone on the sidewalk (or a newspaper on the train) doesn’t mean that’s all they do. It’s the same as saying “You shouldn’t care about this movie, there are people starving in China.” You can actually care about both, and those of us who do care about both will frequently talk about movies when we can’t handle talking about starving people anymore because we’ve done it ALL DAY. I have zero interest in talking to people on the allegorical train ride home because I have spent all day engaging with people in deep and meaningful ways and I’m TIRED.
Hannah: (See: Obsessive playing of High School Story. I realize that it doesn’t matter, that’s the entire point.)
Rose: Yeah My bus ride home or whatever always used to be decompression time, and that’s exactly why I watch cop shows now because literally everything else I do is somehow connected to sociopolitics and it’s exhausting. Besides, you never had deep meaningful conversation with strangers on a train or bus. People would think you were weird. You waited until you got home or the next day and then you talked to your social circle, which is exactly what we do now except we do it instantaneously ON THE FUCKING phone/computer.
Rose: Screw it. I’m just gonna post the convo on the blog. Then I’ll finish my other post, then I’ll use the convo is the basis for more posts, THEN I’ll write a post about using the same convo for a bunch of posts.
Hannah: …in totally separate nerdrage, they’ve not only redone all the exterior shots of the Enterprise in the TOS remaster, they FUCKED WITH THE SCI-FI CITY EXTERIORS. It all looks AWFUL, they’re not actually good effects but they don’t match the rest of the episode’s looks either.
Hannah: I KNOW
Hannah: It totally ruined The Galileo Seven and Space Seed with the stupid spaceship exteriors, but A Taste of Armageddon has them edited into a background after they beam down. I HATE IT. You can still get the old version on DVD as far as I know, but that’s not the version on Netflix.
Rose: *sigh* Given how expensive it is, Netflix is my only option.
Hannah: Me too.
Rose: I hate that too. “Nerds will pay anything, we can charge three times as much as it’s worth!” Which totally excludes any portion of the fanbase that doesn’t have discretionary income.
Rose: ^ Article. Shared with friend. Over computer.
Hannah: I would totally do that.
Rose: I would do the braids.
Hannah: (Of course I also wear a tiara to work and sunglasses to class on occasion, so, y’know. Totes YOLO.)