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Life Lessons from Melissa: Tweets, texts prove no substitute for speech

Theoretically, we could go an entire day without verbalizing a single word and still be in constant contact with whomever we please (as long as they’re living, we haven’t crossed that barrier yet).

This idea terrifies me.

As a COMS major, I thoroughly appreciate a nice verbal banter or debate, or even a simple mundane conversation among friends; as a member of our electronically dependent generation, I find myself cringing at the constantly clicking fingers sitting behind me in class or the open laptops that are updating statuses instead of taking notes.

I am not a model student by any means, and I have committed these heinously irritating (to the professor anyway) offenses on more than one occasion; however, I have come to the realization that technology of this communal magnitude is ruining our social skills.

Ask any one of my friends and they will share with you their annoyance at my lack of desire/ability to respond to text messages.

I hate them.

I will not respond to your “Hey, what’s up?” or anything else for that matter, unless it is something urgent or a hilarious quip or anecdote that will make me “LOL” in a public setting.

I cannot understand the need for constant contact with people you will probably see later, and if you won’t see them later, then call them when you actually have something to say. Seriously, what can people possibly talk about all day, every day?

Are you in a long distance relationship? Well, if you really need to keep tabs on what that person is doing day in, day out, you probably should not be dating.

Oh, and just because you are texting him does not mean he’s not making out with his hot down-the-hall neighbor at the same time. I have witnessed too many fights centered around “he’s not texting me back, he must be in love with someone else” or, “did she really just respond with ‘K’?” to have any interest in partaking in the unsatisfying game of text message misinterpretation.

My next qualm is with the beloved Facebook.

Yes, I use it just as much as the next procrastinating college student and have no complaints about its general existence. In fact, it truly is a great networking tool and quite useful for instantaneously finding out about monumental news around the globe (bin Laden status updates, anyone? More like everyone).

In addition to its practical uses, I will not pretend I don’t use it to see who from my high school is pregnant and who is dating their best friend’s ex-boyfriend.

All of these things are slightly unsettling; how we share information so quickly and openly over the most unsecured source imaginable is bewildering, but what we choose to share is even more perplexing, if not dangerous.

Not only is listing every single thing you did that day (“Woke up at 10:00, ate salmon for lunch, and then went to the pool today! It was hot and the kids there were annoying but at least I got a tan! Now going to the movies with my favoritesss”) extremely irrelevant to everyone else in the Facebook world, but now some crazy stalker sitting in his mother’s basement now knows that you are not home.

This is how people come back to find their childhood doll heads on their pillows. So please, shut up about what you are doing all day unless you want Barbie decapitated by a pervert.

In addition to safety, human beings are able to speak for a reason. If you are angry at someone, tell them.

Tweeting and Facebook-ing about your feelings either in the form of a sappy song lyric or seemingly inspirational quote just makes people angry, not sympathetic.

Our generation has the ability to spread and retain information like none other before us, and we need to start using this gift wisely.

If not, we will just be a bunch of self-centered losers Tweeting to space about our boss’s lack of compassion for our nasty break-up.


Melissa Knueven is a junior studying communications and a columnist for

The Post. You can email her if you want at But you’re probably better off meeting her over a cup of coffee.

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