Communication is becoming faster and slicker than ever before. Its reaching its destination with fewer problems and we are sending out more mail than we ever envisaged.
Stop for a moment and ponder this – can you imagine writing as many messages / memo’s by hand as you send via email? Apart from the obvious ecological disaster this would bring about, it would be almost impossible getting health insurance for carpel tunnel.
What I am getting at here in a very convoluted way is that we may be reaching a point in our history where, despite the communication technology available to us, we are simply unable to get back to every piece of communication that is hitting us on a daily basis requiring a response.
We have gotten into the habit (I am equally guilty) of sending mails or responses requiring responses without thinking do we need to send this? Armed with a smartphone where ever we are at any moment of the day, we have become accustomed to hiding our inability to sit on our own at a cafe or wait for a bus / plane, have a cup of coffee and just read something or soak-up the passing trade. Instead we instantly try and look busy or become busy. Out comes the Blackberry and we start sending / reading emails, texts or BBM’s in the hope that we don’t look like losers with nothing to occupy ourselves. We do this, I believe, with no thought to the excess and needless traffic we then create.
Imagine 10 – 15 years ago where email and cell phones didn’t exist. We were forced to make plans and commit. If the plan changed you would find a phone-box and leave messages all over in the hope that the intended recipient would receive it. Now we are able to cancel meetings in the click of a thumb.
We may have very well cocked up all this “making life simpler” malarky by arming ourselves with an arsenal of communicating devices that means we are always contactable and always firing off more salvos into the ether.
Unlike the Iraq war though, this battle doesn’t have a “pull out period”. We are not making plans to use these devices less. If anything we are making it easier and easier to be in contact.
I am not sure what the solution is but I am sure of one thing. A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to some obscure part of Africa. On his return he commentated that it wasn’t the untouched beauty, the wildlife nor the weather that he found most relaxing. It was the fact that there was no way to be contacted, to send any messages out or be disturbed by a beeping phone or flashing light. 2 weeks of unadulterated device free days.
So here is that thing. Wildlife I can admire on my WWF 2011 screen saver a mate sent me recently; weather I can enjoy on the latest mass forwarded powerpoint presentation of amazing weather pictures, and beauty can be found via a constant barrage of premium service MMS’ that I never signed up for. My next holiday shall be spent sleeping. In a lead lined box.