Monday, June 13, 2005

Lack of Communication in the Age of Communication Technologies

I just had an interesting conversation with a friend online about how it is so hard to keep in touch with people, yet, it should be so easy. With newer technologies like instant messenger, e-mail, and cell phones with text messages, communication should be as simple as typing a few words and hitting enter. Yet I find myself to have lost touch with many people in the last year. Fear not, for I'm sure I have not been cut off from friends forever; some of them are just gone temporarily, but I think there's a more fundamental problem that may not be aided by favorable geographic proximity. After all, it's easy to lose touch with people at the same college as you, who live merely yards away.

This problem is lack of things to say and feeling that it's not worth it to stay in touch. We have so many ways to communicate with people but often so little to say. We have a communications glut.

One of the prime modes of communicating these days, the instant message service, basically facillitates a discussion where two parties can pay as little attention to each other as each wants. A human equivalent to an IM discussion would be two people sitting across from each other exchanging a few words in between looking around distractedly at other people and things but with no direction in the conversation.

Older forms of written communication like letter writing are different because the writer composes an extended conversation that has a point and is personal. The IM conversation requires none of this.

IM, e-mail, and text messaging are made for people who do not have time to set aside for substantial catching up with friends. We have too many people to deal with, so there's no way to dedicate a lot of time to people we don't see on a daily basis. Too busy I suppose. Maybe we just need to spend more time alone, away from our obligations and from our communication technologies like cell phones, IM, e-mail, to appreciate the true value of human contact and communication.

1 comment:

Gonzalo Del Rio Villasenor said...

Speaking of Aol IM, here's mine: yummygonzo
(I hope to "talk" to you soon :-)