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I’ll take a ‘real’ chat please

Old MacDonald had a farm was my first ever ringtone. I didn’t even want a phone but I was 14 years old and there was only so much letter writing my boyfriend could do. Plus, we had a school trip to London and texts would need to replace the letters. I would charge it once every two weeks and the only ‘app’ it had was bio-calendar. I would type in my date of birth and it would rate my love, health and luck for the day. I didn’t carry my phone in my school-bag and the only social media I used was MSN. I was most definitely guilty of writing my current boyfriend’s name surrounded by hearts as my tagline. Those were the days when phones were merely an object for quick conversation- where to meet and what time. I don’t think I even carried my phone around with me. It was too heavy and my friends laughed at it. They all had Nokia 3310’s and during lunchtime they would have Snake competitions. Maybe that’s where it all started?

All I know is that now we have a serious problem. All of us. Last November my phone broke and I cried hysterically. ‘Nomophobia’ would be too light a phrase. What the heck was wrong with me?! Since then I’ve taken a step back. The person I became during that breakdown appalled me. When did I become so attached to a form of technology? Me- the girl who grew up in a tiny village who spent most of her days adventuring in the fields and the forests. The girl who only got a smartphone in 2012 because her colleague said it would make her life SO much easier. And yet where do I find myself today? In a society where people prefer to chat on social media apps as opposed to having real life conversations, where at lunch when I try to speak to my colleagues I have to repeat myself 3 times because they are so busy scrolling through photos of their ‘friends’ updates about what they’re eating for lunch that they don’t even hear me.

I recently moved to Shenzhen so I’ve been trying to make friends. I attend these events where people ask you for your We Chat i.d. without even looking you in the eyes. They don’t know who I am, where I’m from and yet they’re asking for a way to communicate with me. How about we sit down and have a real chat, or does that make you uncomfortable?

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