How many ways can you contact a single individual? Off the top of my head, I can contact most of my friends via their… home phone, office phone, mobile phone, Skype phone (and chat), text, MSN/AIM etc, Facebook chat, Facebook email, ‘normal’ email, LinkedIn email and, of course, by knocking on their door.
So is it any wonder that, in this day and age we almost demand immediate response to our questions and queries?
When every single one of us can be contacted in a dozen or more ways, the feedback loop from question to response has, at times, been reduced so drastically that we instinctively don’t consider its existence any more.
We make a call, it’s answered. We send a text, we get a reply. Even the Internet-based methods don’t rely on a fixed location any more – we can send and receive emails on the move courtesy of our smartphones and 3G or WiFi hotspots.
When we’re never truly unobtainable – unless we actively choose to be – then what are the ramifications of this?
Patience is a virtue, possible more than ever before. Just because someone has the ability to respond almost immediately – is it right to expect them too? Is it bordering on selfish to imagine that our “contact” jumps immediately to the top of their “to do” list, no matter what else they have on? Of course it is but, at times, we’re all guilty.
Solitude becomes a gift to treasure too. Those times when absolutely nobody can get hold of you – either through design or circumstance (phone switched off or no service basically).
It can be obvious – sometimes too obvious – that we’re not immediately replying to someone: “I can see him on Skype, so why’s he not responded to my email?”
Is this curse something we’ve unwittingly-created for ourselves? Has our addiction to mobile communications reached its nadir?
We’ll adapt, as we always do. Possibly even scale back on the multitude of methods by which we’re open to be communicated with. Make better use of privacy settings – not because we want to actively ignore a person but because we want (need?) to have more control over our availability.
As for me… right now I’m open to everybody if you want to say hello. But don’t expect an immediate response. I might be busy. ;-)