Chicks In the Sticks with iPhones

Mount Hood Chicks in the Sticks 2011

No it is not what you are thinking. Of course you let your mind go there. Every year some great girl friends and I take a weekend retreat to Hood River, Oregon. We call it “Chicks in the Sticks” and we rent a lodge and spend the weekend sharing stories and advice, cooking and eating great meals, drinking wine, and most importantly focusing on our friendships. We leave all the baggage behind: the husbands, kids, pets, boyfriends, and work. We all come from different backgrounds so we learn a lot from each other. We have Teachers, Advertisers, Marketers, Lawyers, Occupational and Physical Therapists, Stay at Home Mothers, and Recruiters in our group. We go on this retreat to relax and laugh while we enjoy the gorgeous views of Mt. Hood.

Before this year there were only a few of us that were really technologically savvy. I remember during our first annual trip, we decided to do a scavenger hunt. We split into teams and had to search the local town for items or to get answers to questions that would have easily been looked up or located today on any smartphone, but at the time I was the only one who had one. I had a Blackberry 8830 World phone and I tried feverishly to look up information on that thing. I didn’t have Google Maps, and the web browser app at the time, Opera, was terrible. I thought we would have the advantage, but I would have been better off without the phone since all my time was spent trying to find things on it versus finding them in real life.  It was then that I started my reputation in the group as the one who always Googles everything. The second year, I was the girl who was always texting, the third was my iPhone year, and I became the girl who took all the pictures and spent time on Facebook. Sure over those three years there were a few other girls who got smartphones, but I was by far the most addicted. This year that all changed.

Most of the ladies now had an iPhone or some other form of smartphone. It was so interesting to watch how much our little crowd had changed. Even our most resistant friend had gotten an iPhone. We are talking about a girl you could never get a hold of. Who’s voicemail box regularly filled up since she would go so long without listening to them or deleting them. The girl who lost her password to her land line voicemail and probably still has messages on there from 2004. Even she had an iPhone! And she was using it! She Googled directions to the lodge, took pictures, texted, and looked up information. She was converted.

As we sat around having hilarious life conversations and discussing the latest Hollywood gossip found in the US Weekly and People magazines strewn about, I noticed that the conversation shifted to other topics not in the magazines. Things we just had to look up to verify. I looked around the table and saw one friend had claimed my spot as the lead Google girl. She went so far as to coin it “Pulling a Sheryl” which lovingly means, I am going to look it up on my iPhone. I also noticed girls were posting pictures to Facebook and Instagr.am within seconds of being taken. This was now a social media savvy bunch.

It was amazing to see how much technology has affected our little group in just three short years. People seemed more relaxed at leaving their babies and pets at home with their husbands knowing that they could text or call them in an instant. I do not think there was one girl there that did not send a text or use social media in some fashion. There is something comforting about a smartphone. It gives you freedom at the same time it keeps you connected.

There is always the risk that social media applications will get in the way of real human relationships but in our case our bond is too strong for that. All social media did for us this weekend was enhance our conversations, bring color to our stories, and allow us to capture memories. I cannot wait to see what the girls are doing next year!

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