Saturday, March 12, 2011

How we communicate with each other

Once upon a time, long, long ago there was a decade called the '90s. Back in those dark ages people primarily communicated with friends and family in person (crazy, right?), phone and email. Although many people had cell phones, these earlier phone models were generally used to talk; no texting, apps or games were included -gasp-.

Suprisingly maybe -depending on your age- not everyone had a cell phone (especially at the start of the 90s) in part because they were expensive, reception was even worse than it is now, battery life was amazingly limited, and they were too big / bulky to easily carry with you.


As with cell phones, people interacted via email and on the web quite differently than they do today. Although the internet was available; bandwidth and connections remained significant issues as people routinely shouted at their computer's and bemoaned something called "dial-up".

Sites like AOL and chat rooms were all the rage (there was no such thing as Manhunt or Grindr). There was no Facebook; twitter was something birds would do; and even email was very different in the 90s - inserting images, embedding links, etc... was not always possible.

As communications and technology has progressed, the way I interact with people has changed significantly. For example, the only time I leave my house without my phone is when I'm off to the gym. I'm far more likely to text than I am to call, and I only check my email once or twice a day.

Thinking back 5-10 years, I would have found what I just admitted inconceivable. Although I always had my cell phone with me, the way I used it was so different from today. When texting was initially available, I loathed it (mostly because my phone at the time was crappy), and my preferred method of communicating was email. Oy, I feel old...

9 comments:

Sean said...

How about people who no longer leave phone messages because "they'll see that I called?" To me, if you can't leave a vmail then it's not important enough for me to call back. I don't text or FB or Tweet

David Dust said...

Oh honey - let me tell you about an even longer time ago - a decade called "The 80's".

When I was in college in the 80's - all of our dorm rooms had a phone. In order to reach someone, you called their number. Sometimes they were there and picked up and you got to talk to the person who called. Sometimes their roommate took a message. And sometimes the phone just rang and rang and rang - thereby making the person you were trying to reach completely incommunicado. This period of time when a person couldn't be reached could go on for - gasp - hours!!

None of us owned computers. There were a few "Computer Labs" on campus, but those were for Computer Science majors (AKA "hopeless geeks" - who are probably worth millions now, btw). There was no email. There was no internet. If we wanted to look something up, we had to go to the library. If we had to write and/or hand in a paper for class, it was usually done on a typewriter.

See - it could be worse - you could be as old as Moi

:)

XOXOXO

A Lewis said...

Amazing, isn't it? Even from one, or two, years back.....we've evolved. some good. And some bad. I think in spite of the fact that we think we're connected on a technology level that we're actually more disconnected on a personal basis than we used to be.

Single Guy said...

Yes. We are getting old. I'll be in Boston in September if you want to catch up!

wcs said...

And do you know why we say "dial?" Yes, that old rotary dial with the finger holes. One slip and you had to stop and start again. That's my age group.

I'm not old enough to remember the crank-up phone with the operator at the other end who would put your call through...

Alan Bennett Ilagan said...

Sean - My brother will do that - call without leaving a message and just assume I'll call him back (I never do). Respect. As for the rest of it, I have yet to send or receive one text. I'm old fashioned that way. Sometimes it feels like we're creating a society of socially-inept people who communicate by looking down at a mobile device instead of simply talking and looking at each other.

Loki's Log said...

I hate it when people text and think it is ok to just drop the conversation mid-exchange -- like you would hang up on someone mid-sentence. Some basic etiquette seems to have been lost in the new transition.

Greg said...

I still look back fondly and remember the old rotary phones, and how cool it was to finally have a touchtone.

It almost seems unfair to say how far communication has advanced, though, when I see two people walking beside each other -- supposedly a couple -- and they're both on their cell phones talking o other people. yes, we have all these new fangled gadgets, but it seems more of a way to ignore those around us rather than interact.

Jason Shaw said...

Most of my youth was spent leaving hand written notes and letters to my friends!

Gosh, I can remember when a friend of mine had a mobile phone, it came in a bag, the battery was as big as a sports holdall, it was so big, but the height of technology in those days.