Keeping track of which method of communication people prefer is really difficult. We are awash with choices. Individually, each is wonderful and enhanced by modern technology. Collectively, they are a problem.
Person A doesn’t like making phone calls because it always seems to be an intrusion on friends and family, and corporations have those awful robot menus. B doesn’t use email because his inbox has hundreds of them, and there are just too many to process. C only responds to text messages. D won’t go to Facebook because it has too many ads and/or political memes. E isn’t on Twitter. F rarely picks up her snail mail because the mail box is full of flyers and, anyway, she only uses email. G enjoys video blogs but doesn’t read text blogs, and vice versa for person H.
The plethora of choices can make communication more varied and more enjoyable, but too often recently I have found that my messages aren’t reaching their target audience. I need a little notebook to remind me which method to use for each person on my contact list, but that would be too “old school.” Maybe what I should do is add a note to each person on my electronic contact list, but there’s no guarantee I would remember to check the note before sending a message.
I am geographically distant from a lot of my family and friends, so I prefer methods of communication that allow me to reach the most people with the least effort. As such, I use this blog and Facebook to let people know what is going on in my life and what I am thinking about. However, a few people read neither my blog nor Facebook, so those people are sadly out of my regular communications loop. They have freed themselves from the communications clutter, but in the process have cut themselves off from my words of wisdom.
This past week, I tried to reach a few people via email, thinking that these days that is the most likely to get a response. But, I didn’t always connect. Now, it seems, that medium has become problematic. Too many ads and too many messages have made the system unwieldy. Also, email addresses change surprisingly often without leaving a forwarding address.
Like many other people, I stopped sending birthday cards through the postal service a long time ago because they never seemed to get there on the right day, and because postage became really expensive. Just yesterday I spent $25 to mail a $30 gift, and I decided not to do that again.
The phone is not my friend, either. I have sent a text message to someone who doesn’t have a smart phone, I have hung up on a scam phone call from someone who claimed to be from the IRS, and I have put off calling someone because I didn’t want to interrupt their creative work.
On the other hand, when I was feeling blue the other day I called one of my sisters in the UK. I hadn’t actually talked to her in ages but it felt just as though we meet every day. We fell into easy conversation in a flash and she talked me out of my funk. Just like old times.
I want everyone to know how much that meant to me and how grateful I am, so I’m putting it here for the world to know. My sister won’t know, though, because she doesn’t read this blog. She rarely uses Facebook, either, so I feel pretty sure she won’t get to hear about it there. I may have to send her a card. Dammit.
I totally feel you Anne!
PS I always LOVE the little giggle you leave me with at the end.
PPS You do reach me in two ways though! Even though I do get email overwhelm I skim through and catch most of yours.
I am so glad the article connected with you. I am even more glad that you get my emails!
Love this. “just call me” doesn’t always work. But sometimes, picking up the phone is the hardest thing you do all day.
I talk myself out of making phone calls all the time. I rationalize it by telling myself that I communicate a lot in many other ways.
I find my deafness makes using the telephone very difficult and even impossible. I would love to have the chats you describe. However I very much value text messages, e-mails and Facebook. Keep them coming!
I will definitely do that, Ernie!
My teenage daughter begged to have the old grimy typewriter rusting in the garage. She also retrieved an old camera that uses film from the same place. When I asked her why she wanted the camera when she already has an iPhone with a great camera, she said that the old camera only takes 16 photographs so she has to be very selective and take care with each picture, but with the iPhone she can take a virtually unlimited number of pictures so the quality suffers. There is something profound in that comment that resonates with your post but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is 🙂
Your daughter is very perceptive! Not many teenagers would recognize that in both writing and photography, sometimes less is more.