We have all this instant communication and yet the world often seems lonely.
Maybe that’s why so many seem to have to be in instant communication or I should say constant communication with someone else via laptops, cell phones, and those other hand-held devices of which I know little about. And it is not just talking but also this texting thing where I’m told they use crazy abbreviations to throw their instant messages back and forth.
While I often look with wonder and even disdain upon these people seemingly talking to themselves (they’re really on the cell phone via those small ear pieces (blue tooth technology?), I have caught myself doing the same thing.
I’ve been walking each day on a path near our home. The fist time I walked this wonderful trip through nature I was disappointed to see that while so many others enjoyed it too, many of them were chatting on cell phones all the way. I mean what’s the point in getting out into the quiet (minus the chirping of birds) and peaceful solitude of the natural surroundings if you have to be electronically hooked and engaged with the rest of the world?
(And don’t get me going on this new “Twitter” thing where the short messages are called “tweets”. The only tweet I want to hear is from the little birdies, not the squawking of humans. And yes I realize Twitter is texting, not voice. I was just complaining in metaphor.)
But then on another walk I felt myself compelled to call a former co-worker, a trucker, and ask what he was doing. I’ve done this more than once, I must confess. But I vow to not do it anymore (my fingers may be crossed behind my back). I feel guilty of poor behavior. Certainly it is the right of others to do as they please (I guess), but maybe I can just appreciate nature.
I was already thinking about writing of the addiction so many have to constant communication and then just before I sat down to blog this on my laptop I read a piece by Howard Rheingold in the online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. He teaches a college class and he noticed that while he speaks few of his students actually look at him. Sometimes he actually asks everyone to turn their cell phones and laptops off. Once he pulled out his camera and shot a video of the class not watching him. Later he projected the video on a screen in front of the class. He looked out and many of the students were watching the video, but not on the projector screen in front of the class but on their own laptops.
You can see the blog he wrote about his at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/index?
He indicated that some of them are doing other things as well, multitasking as it were.
And maybe this lack of attention span explains the ignorance of society. So many people, young ones especially, do not have a clue about the world around them despite their constant communication. The problem may be what that they are actually communicating about and the fact they are more focused on themselves than the world around them. I’m just surmising here.
There is a strange contradiction. I often hear young people, even little children, on television and they sound so mature and so articulate. And yet I have come to the conclusion that many are just parroting the media they are connected to, but do not and will not fully comprehend who they are and what their relationship is to the past and present and future. Many of them are more concerned about maintaining their own stage role. Maybe Shakespear had a point when he said life is but a play and we are all actors upon a stage.”
And maybe I just take things too seriously.
As I contemplate all this, I recall that back in those old days before personal computers and cell phones, when I was banging out stories on a manual typewriter in a newsroom, sometimes we would get to talking among ourselves about not much of anything and the editor, who often took part, would have to remind us that there was work to do. We were supposed to be the lucky ones with an interesting job, not sorting widgets on a conveyor belt.
But many of us do like to talk.
And maybe those quizzes they do among young people where they do not know where Canada and Mexico are and probably do not care are just skewed unscientific samples. I mean with all of this communication the word surely must have gotten out.