I’ve been incommunicado recently because i’ve had issue after issue with the internet and my computer and it made me restless. Then it made me think of how we communicate these days.
I know everyone and their dog past the age of 25 says the art of letter writing has died, and it has. If you write to someone, it’s either novelty or desperate necessity. I’ve got penpals of my own that I love writing letters to, but I wouldn’t mind if we changed it for something more instant. Some say it’s therapeutic, some other people say it’s nothing but a task that needs to be done. We all must communicate in some way.
There’s also something very… nice, about letter writing. I think even the grubbiest person could write a letter and it would still be these nice formed letters, even if they’re illegible, on a nice piece of paper, even if it’s crumpled. It all gives the letter character, it’s all giving this letter a piece of the writer. Like an unsigned signature.
How very Sherlock Holmes.
But today, in this day and age, we don’t just have letters and emails and phones to talk on, we have texting and Computer IM programmes, and purpose-made Video IM programmes like Skype. Beepers have come and they’ve gone, they couldn’t stand up to the ever-improving, evolving technology of this modern age. We’re not even satisfied with texts on phones anymore, no! We have IM programmes built into them. Pocket PCs, Netbooks, the iPad (which I personally find to be pointless, but that’s not the point here)!
Communication is important, but is it that important? (Says the writer with a smart phone and an addiction to blogging and twitter)
Phones are now becoming commonly capable of video calls. And talking of calls, Star Trek called, they want their breakthrough technology back.
Is this because we’re impatient? Do we like to be able to contact people whenever and wherever and however we like, or do we need the replies back so quickly? Is it that we just now have so much to say that it can’t wait, otherwise we’ll forget it and miss our Nobel Price moment? Or do we just like the metaphorical sound of our actually absent voices?
What has changed to make us need to microblog, or just regularly blog, or update our facebook, or chat over facebook with our friends on facebook who we’d ideally see and contact otherwise frequently outside facebook, who can see our facebook statuses and wall and our “message me” buttons; instead of sitting down at a desk set, getting out a nice letter set and getting our best pens, thinking over everything we say carefully, calmly? And feeling satisfied that the reader will get this letter eventually, that we will hear from this reader eventually and until then, life can go on, giving us more to write about the next time?
I sit on both sides of these fences, and I don’t know the answers.