Friday, February 17, 2012

Communication—Have We Killed It?

How many times do you text instead of call? You use the same keys on the phone for both purposes. You allow for much the same time and concentration for the action. What’s the real difference here?

Is the difference that with texting you can abbreviate nearly every word in order to avoid actually explaining yourself to a live human being? Is this avoidance merely a manufactured stratagem to keep people at a distance rather than to allow them into your life? Have you ever really thought about why you do it? I’m not talking time savings, either.

Texting, for me, is a tedious thing. On the flip side, I no longer care for talking on the phone, either. Some may say that I’m isolating myself from others, including family. But is that true?

Looking at it under the microscope, I see that in one respect the accusation is true. I really detest solicitation calls, harassment-type calls, and those that interrupt my writing activities. As a result, I keep my phone turned off most of the time. Ask my friends and family if you don’t believe me.

Allowing for that quirk of mine, I can say that I also don’t like voicemail. I try to avoid that like a bad case of bird flu. I will return text messages once a day or so if I have them waiting.

Those who know me also know that this is how I deal with things from outside my office and home. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t particularly want interruptions to what I’m doing. I have enough of a juggling act going without that.

I talk to hundreds of people each week on the computer, some frequently, and have no difficulty dealing with the volume, most of the time. Although, there are days when one more email could have me dropping off the cliff called “Not Enough Time.”

I call my dad every day unless I’m prevented by circumstance or timing on a given day. I try to call extended family at least once a month—at least one of them anyway—to touch base and see what the southern group is doing. I also have those family members I connect with on the computer, and as with most families, word always gets around, sooner or later.

Most of the time, I use the phone for business only, with a few exceptions. Friends I don’t get to see in person or family members, who would rather talk on the phone than write, get regular to semi-regular calls from me. The reasons are agreed upon by both parties.

My brother texts me, if he can, instead of calling, mostly because of his schedule and the time zones between us. He hates talking on the phone worse than I do. I think that must come from our upbringing. We weren’t allowed to spend much time on the phone when we were growing up and the call had to have value each time. Telephones weren’t toys back then, and a person didn’t replace them because a new model came out.

Few of us write actual letters anymore. Our personal world pace seems to have gone “a gallopin’” as the old-timers used to say. Our lives are cluttered with so many activities, must-do’s, plans, and expectations that we don’t give ourselves time to stop and think for more than five minutes before we’re off and running again.

Real letters take time to write. Thought is necessary for how and what we write in them. Texting doesn’t require that, only abbreviations and a ten-second window of opportunity. Phone calls require listening to what someone has to say, processing that information, and composing an adequate and appropriate reply.  Emails are faster and less thoughtful most of the time, as is texting.

Is it any wonder that technology has encouraged a withdrawal from the previous methods of communication? Look where the Pony Express got us. The USPS!

Let me know how you feel on this subject. Agree or disagree with what I’ve said. Each communication type has both plus and minus columns.

Until later,


PS—Over at I’ve delved even further into this subject, but with a different slant entirely. Please take a few moments to hop over there and take a gander at the other side of the tracks.

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