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Ok. I am feeling a bit like the Bill Cosby of the social media space: come on people and show some thoughtfulness about your textual relationships and social interactions in general.

I mean, this week alone I reluctantly participated in what could only be called a Facebook memorial service, was asked out on a first date by text, received a voicemail message reporting the death of a friend, and engaged, briefly, in a text messaged conversation about a personal matter that should have been held face-to-face, or at least voce a voce.

I admit I have gotten caught up in the convenience of expressing my random thoughts to whomever I may know will engage me at the moment we are logged on. Some of the exchanges have been interesting and appropriate, but not that many. I have used sites like LinkedIn to connect with former colleagues and to do some professional networking. I have even registered with sites in an attempt to increase my dating options. I tweet on a frequent basis. I BBM (Instant Messaging with fellow Blackberry users). I fully understand the desire to participate in the social media space as fast as my thumbs can type. But as difficult as it may be for many people to imagine relinquishing their smartphones for even a few minutes these days, there is evidence that doing so can actually be rewarding.

Exhibit 1: Calls with Mom. I don’t know about you, but the only thing I have sent to my mom using the latest technology is a photo. Otherwise, she expects to receive a regular call and update on what’s going on with me. She provides insight, comfort and perspective that I couldn’t pay for. I haven’t “friended” anyone who compares.

Exhibit 2: Career development. Yes, I know professionals who have gotten job assignments online without having ever met their clients. That’s great. Make your paper. But the Internet has created such a large pool of applicants for entry-level opportunities that personal relationships have become even more important, and they are very difficult to establish and nurture virtually.

Exhibit 3: Authentic experiences. I posted my favorite photo of myself on a web site to meet men. It’s my favorite picture not just because the white halter that I’m wearing makes my smile seem a hundred times more fabulous than it is and shows off my newly tanned shoulders beautifully, although that would be sufficient. But I love that image because of the context within which it was taken. I was at a hookah bar in Dallas sipping cocktails, talking and laughing with my cousins and their friends.

No one sent a text message or IM all evening. Meanwhile I’m still waiting to meet Mr. Right.


Tresa Chambers lives and works in New York City. Find her on Twitter.com @DiviniTre.

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