When fax machines first landed on the scene, I thought ‘oh my gosh, this is amazing. Instant communication. It was the absolute best time to be alive.
Then, cell phones. Yes. Same thoughts. I can literally talk to my mother, thousands of miles away, as I’m driving to work.
THEN, I waited in line for an iPhone. I’m one of the very first to get one and happily waited in line for hours to purchase it. The next day I went to Burger King with the device in my hand and was surrounded by tweens who wanted to see it. The VERY best time to be alive, I thought.
One night, I’m startled by the sound of an unfamiliar man in our living room talking to my son. I race in to discover that he’s a gamer who’s probably sitting in his own living room playing online with my son. I noticed shortly thereafter that both my boys are interacting more online with their friends than in person.
When texting really took off, I could communicate and get answers while IN A MEETING. OMG are you kidding me? Real time information. There was no longer a need for a fax machine or land line phones in my house. I no longer wear a wristwatch (sadly because I had a watch for every outfit), I no longer need a flashlight. There are many things I no longer need.
When Facebook caught on it was an adrenaline rush. I no longer see the need to go to class reunions because we’re all connected on Facebook. Everyone from that era knows what I’m doing and vice versa.
I’m noticing people are apologizing for calling me. Just the other day, “I’m sorry for calling you but…” Isn’t that funny? Sorry for calling me? It seems verbal communication is waning from our culture.
Over these few decades there has been a dizzying onslaught of new communication which has affected us dramatically. Having instant access to just about anyone and instant access to information should place us in a virtual nirvana and yet it seems to have the opposite effect.
Does anyone else find it strange that with faster and better communication has become more depersonalized? And that with lightening access to information has come a blur between opinion, facts and outright lies? In many aspects of our culture there are paradoxes that make no sense whatsoever. There are so many voices saying so many things that it requires herculean effort to sort it all. The easiest way to avoid getting caught up in this murk is to simply unplug.
An example of viral misinformation: It’s all over the internet that Albert Einstein said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Which he did not say. Instead, he wrote this to a friend, “I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanization and depersonalization of our lives, a disastrous byproduct of science and technology. Nostra culpa!”
In a relatively short amount of time, the way we communicate has changed dramatically. I don’t have a great enough imagination to see what’s next, however, a potent solar flare just might set us back to a simpler time, at least for a while.
I’m Calling You
Thoughts that are alien to any of my other projects can be found here.