Phone-A-Friend: Getting Plugged-In and In-Touch in the Digital Age

By: Claire Biggs, Regular Contributor

 

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Image from www.digitaltrends.com

 

Seattle. New York City. Orange. Dallas. Lake Charles.

Those are the cities where some of my closest friends live.

I don’t live in any of them.

Hi. My name is Claire Biggs, and I’m always on my phone. I’m the girl people like to worry about: “Look at her. She’s too busy staring at a little screen to actually live her life.”

To be fair, those people are usually well-intentioned. While I worry about finding a Wi-Fi signal, they worry about my eyesight. I put my head down and plow on toward my destination; they anticipate the day I walk in front of a bus because I’m too busy texting, tweeting, whatever-ing to pay attention. I send more texts and emails and Facebook messages than they can fathom, and that’s just before they wake up.

To all of you wonderful, concerned people out there, I’ve got one thing to say:

Relax. I’ve got this.

About nine months ago I threw everything I owned in five, haphazardly packed boxes and moved from New York City to my much, much smaller hometown in Louisiana. I left behind some pretty spectacular people, and because I moved to Louisiana, booking affordable flights to see them is rarely an option.

It’s not only my friends in and around New York. Depending on who you ask, I might be voted girl most likely to get murdered by someone she met online. Sure, it was definitely a concern when we were all preteens on MySpace, but as an adult in the twenty-first century, online is where I do most of my networking. I’ve networked with more professionals, received more job offers, and made more friendships online in the past three years than I can count. That means I now have friends I’ve never met face-to-face in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Columbia. We love handwritten letters as much as the next group of friends, but some things need to be instantaneous.

And it’s not only my relationships. It’s my job. I’ve spent the better part of last year working as a freelance writer and PR consultant. When you first start working from home, it’s magical. You don’t have to look presentable, (pants are optional, right?) and you can get up and go get a snack whenever you want. It’s pretty much the ideal work situation.

When that gets a little monotonous, you turn the whole world into your office. As long as I have access to Twitter, Gmail, and text messages, I’m golden. That means I can hop in my car and convert the coffee shop down the street into my office on a whim. It’s brilliant. It’s convenient.

It’s one of the many reasons why I’m always on my phone.

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t think I need to tone it down sometimes. I mean, was it really necessary to live-tweet my parents’ reactions while watching Long Ranger in theaters? Probably not, but it was a long movie and they were really entertaining! And couldn’t that email I sent in the middle of my root canal procedure wait? Yes. One hundred percent yes. That was absurd.  

I know some of you are still shaking your heads and muttering under your breath about the sad state of my affairs. What about face-to-face conversations? What about personal connections? What about xyz?

I don’t mind that I’m a girl who is always on her phone. It enables me to draft a blog post while talking Scandal with one of my best friends. Being plugged in means sending a friend every GIF of Jennifer Lawrence ever made while preparing for a conference call. It might mean missing out on a few things in front of my face every once in a while, but that’s a compromise I’m willing to make because I love what I do.  

So the next time you worry about the girl on the phone, try to understand that some of us aren’t just entertaining ourselves. We’re working. We’re keeping in touch with our friends.

We’re living.

About Claire: Claire Biggs landed what she thinks is one of the best jobs in the world writing for MTV’s pro-social blog, MTV Act. She’s a writer who watches too much TV and reads even more books. She’s probably on Twitter right now.

 

 

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