Textamacy – How Social Media is Accelerating Relational Intimacy

girl_texting

Our 14-year-old son wanted only one thing for Christmas this year.

And I am sure that we weren’t the only parents who acquiesced to our child’s desire for an iPhone.

Apple sold 125 million of them in 2012.

Until now, kids didn’t have access to instant communication with their friends. Yes, they could call people on the phone, but for this generation, it isn’t fast or wide-ranging enough. Kids today want to communicate through text messages or broadcast their thoughts to an ever-listening world.

We live in a social media age.

In fact, this generation might be coined the “Social Media Generation” not unlike the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers of the past. Texting, Smart Phones, Facebook and Twitter have changed communication in our world forever.

When something big happens around us, we no longer wait to see it on the evening news; we reach for our iPhone/Pad or our Android device of choice to check in on what’s happening. This cultural shift hasn’t just altered the way we get our information; it has radically changed the way we communicate with one another.

This brings us to the world of dating and our desire for immediate gratification. We are now conditioned by smart phones and social media outlets to seek instant intimacy.  It’s no big deal to spill personal details on Facebook to an audience of thousands.

Now when I was a kid in the midst of puberty, I wanted to engage in intimate conversations with women too, I just didn’t have the opportunity.

I had to use the home telephone (remember the push-button dial-up attached to the wall?) and ask the girl’s parents if I could engage in conversation with their daughter.
phone
And none of those conversations were private, so getting intimate wasn’t an option. Not so today.

We-my wife and I, began to look into the texting patterns of our first-born, to see what was happening in this new social media paradigm. What we found was alarming, and very telling about how intimacy is building in our modern culture.

We inadvertently stumbled upon a conversation (ok we snooped…) that had happened for all of eleven days. The first text was innocent… the girl responded “who is this?”

Eleven days and over 1,000 texts later, they were talking about how they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

Until day nine, the two had never spent a minute alone together. But on day nine, they attended a friend’s fifteenth birthday party at Laser Quest, a laser tag facility at the local mall. And it was on day nine that the two found themselves in a lip-lock inside the dimly lit maze illuminated by black lights and fluorescent bulbs.

Shocking, I know… from zero to intimate in nine days.

When we found out what was happening and unpacked the past eleven days, our son admitted the conversation just kind of went out of control. He said it was easy to say things he never would have said in person or with other people around. The conversation became provocative and arousing and he couldn’t help himself.

An interesting thing happened in the aftermath. When the conversation came to light and the texting stopped, the two found themselves in an awkward position.

They had a lot of enticing conversations, but they really didn’t know each other. They knew little things about each other, but they didn’t know each other. They fell for the image the other person expressed and their own imagination filled in any blanks.

This created a false reality that seemed flawless.

But when they actually began interacting with each other in person, they soon realized the image they portrayed in the texting relationship didn’t match reality. They found they didn’t have much in common and their personalities weren’t a good match.

They still see each other at school, but the enticement is gone and the relationship is over. And this intrigued me…

In a society where social media and texting are the primary ways of communication and a majority of singles have tried online dating, are we really getting to know the people we date, or are we just getting to see the online persona they want to portray?

And do we really want to know the person we date or are we content pursuing someone’s false image because it’s uncomplicated and desirable?
And we wonder why so many of our dating relationships end in disappointment?

Many of these disappointments are inevitable because we cross the threshold of sexual intimacy before we know the person we are with.

As social media and texting have propelled our access to intimacy, it seems as though we are becoming content with false intimacy.

We settle for crumbs instead of a real relationship.

I imagine Manti Te’o would admit he fell hook, line and sinker for this idea of false intimacy.

Have you?

Photo Source: Rodale.com

Trackbacks

  1. […] #blog #post Textamacy – How Social Media is Accelerating Relational Intimacy […]

Please Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: