This is a topic close to my heart, as I am married to a techie geek. I’m not insulting him – he would probably take it as a compliment, actually. And well he should. Were it not for my husband’s tech prowess, I’d still be rolling paper into our old dot-matrix printer and trying to figure out the fax machine. He has succeeded in dragging his at-times technophobic wife into the 21st century, and truly, it needed to happen. This is a wave – a tsunami – that unless we get on top of, we will find ourselves drowned by.
In my practice this is especially true. Social media is a factor (if not the catalystic cause) of the issues for most of the couples I see for therapy. Whether it’s a seen email, forbidden text, or controversial Facebook relationship status, social technology is rocking our world. Perhaps it’s because it provides a whole new platform for connection – and rejection. Maybe it’s due to the fact that one can now clandestinely pursue someone other than one’s partner, aided by emails, texts, and secret passwords. I personally think it’s because the Internet holds for us the same pseudo-safety we feel in our cars when we exercise our road rage: we feel invincible, powerful, unseen and safe all at once. It’s too easy to forget that behind the computer screen (or smartphone, iPad, or Blackberry screen) there are real people watching, listening, and taking note of our words, pictures, and selves. Many many real people, in fact. Just imagine: would you fill Yankee Stadium just to announce what you ate for breakfast, or how hung over you are? And yet, that’s what millions – soon to be billions – do every day on the world’s most popular site, Facebook. It’s Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame on amphetamines and the high school of your worst nightmares wrapped into one.
But it can also be a source of positive connection too. People can now keep in touch with loved ones across the globe faster, easier, and some might say even better than they ever have before at any point in history. And on a much smaller scale, dual-income marrieds can retrieve some of the intimacy of which daily life has robbed them. I know my beloved geek loves to be pinged with random texts throughout the day that let him know I’m thinking of him at that very moment. I myself like to involve him via iPhone pics in the latest havoc our 5 year-old twins have wreaked (thereby preparing him for my mood before he even steps in the door).
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Weigh in – take my 5-minute survey at http://tinyurl.com/social-tech-survey and let me know. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter (@laurelfay) – of course. I told you I was dragged into the modern era <:)