Send me a text, let me know if I should listen to the voice message you left on my phone. I’m too busy to answer your call but would happily respond to a text message. I can’t be bothered to pick up my voice mail; you can reach me on twitter, Facebook, or send an email. I’ll “talk” to you online as soon as I finish updating my status, “liking” Tiger Balm to qualify for that free sample, and responding to an email my boss sent moments before silently passing my desk on his way out the door. LOL – SYS.
Communication; at least from my middle aged perspective, is poised for one nasty tumble into oblivion. Soon to join cursive writing, grammar, spelling, and bread making in “who can be bothered” land.
My adult children rarely answer their phones but fire lightning responses to text messages – days go by, nary a word exchanged – all perfectly normal to them. My only solace being a conspicuous lack of “how r u” or TTYS nonsense.
Ponder how often you call somebody and hang up when reaching their voice mail, opting for a text message or hope they’ll spot your number and call back. Ask yourself when was the last time you took pen to paper, or licked a stamp. Can you read a map or give directions without the help of Google?
Workplace communication has become comical to the point of tragedy. Human Resources toss pet words about – “huddles”, “empowerment”, “team building” – what a joke. Email after email choking common sense, alienating staff as they fall deeper into anonymous holes – directives, reports, policies – no time to talk, too busy hitting “send”.
Communication is about contact; communication embodies the very heart of human nature – the need to learn, understand and make sense of our world. Spoken words convey messages through expression, body language and tone. Conversation diffuses misunderstanding, allows for discussion, offers support, validation and comfort.
Customer service gave way to automated call centres – “self serve” check-out at stores – “e-cards” reducing heartfelt sentiment to the click of predetermined clichés. Invitations, announcements, requests and pleasantries extended without a shred of actual contact.
Ponder the mirth of telecommunication marketers upon realizing fortunes could be on messaging. Addictive as heroin, technology hooks us on communication devices then “bundles” additional charges for texting and data. Talk is cheap but we’re hooked on the hard stuff; best intentions mere fluff when a message comes in and talk is too much work.
We don’t need to know how to solve problems. Apps put our lives in order – why take valuable time out of the day to ask for directions, read a transportation schedule or map. Why research family history by talking to loved ones before they’re gone – ancestry.com does it for you – infinitely less work. Minor details dissolve click by click, all the while convincing ourselves this is the future.
With each click our perception fades; denial fueled by vague memories of a time when we “communicated”. A generation from now those recollections won’t matter – no one will be alive to remember. Evolution replacing our vocal chords with an extra set of eyes so we can walk and text without being run over by a bus.