Communication or obfuscation? The role of technology today.

Technology has changed our lives immeasurably, especially in the way we choose to communicate with each other because, yes siree, we have so very many choices to choose from. 100 years ago most people would send letters, which could take days, to communicate with one another. Even 20-30 years ago the phone call was the only real way of communicating instantly; if you were lucky the person owned a mobile so you could contact them when it was on. Today everyone can be contacted by 5-6 different methods at any one time, anywhere in the world. And this is just communication, think about how you store information that's meaningful, how many of you still use a filing cabinet and briefcase regularly?

This has lead to a problem. We have so many different ways to communicate we often don’t really know what to use, or how to use each method best. For instance why do you use Snapchat, or Instagram? What hole in your communication does it fill? Also when was the last time you sat and talked to someone for an evening without ever looking at your phone? I’m not condemning however you choose to use it, just asking you to think about what you use as well as how and why you use it. I often send texts out expecting an answer back quickly, but if I wanted a quick answer why not just phone them? It sounds obvious but I bet most of us have had the ‘why haven’t they text me back?’ thought.

I believe a massive amount of our day to day frustrations come from our inefficiencies at communicating with each other. It’s just not simple anymore, and when things cease to be simple they frustrate us and cause stress.

Rather than just moaning let’s start with some solutions. First thing I did was listed, on paper and with pen (shockingly old school I know), all of the ways I communicate and what I used them for. This was not easy but it was interesting, for instance I had Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat accounts I had no reason to use. They weren’t expanding my social circle and I had other, better ways of contacting both business and personal contacts. I then deleted everything which doubled up or didn’t have a use this was no easy task as most of these services won’t let you delete the data you have given them, however after some work I at least managed to limit any risk old dead accounts could cause me.

So a month later I came back to it, thought about what I missed. Turns out I hadn’t missed anything, I am happier and more efficient. In fact, rather than wasting time on all these communication and media platforms I now try to spend a little time learning something new each day which, simply, has made me much happier.

As time goes by there will be more and more ways to interact with one another. We have a responsibility now to choose how we want to do it rather than just trying to keep up with the Joneses all the time. I suggest working out what you use, how you use it and if there is a better way. The possibilities are endless, but we spend so long trying to keep up to date that it’s making us miserable. All of this technology is designed to help us, why does it no longer feel that it does that any more?

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