The down sides of electronic media
As the title says, this is an exploration of ‘down sides’. If you wish for a balanced perspective, move on now! I mean now!
What do I mean by electronic media? I mean all forms of electronic communication and interaction e.g. emails, text (sms) messages, online banking, video conferencing etc etc. Overall these forms of communication have created a culture of ‘everything’ happening in real time or very quickly. The nature of reality has become twisted. I give two scenarios that triggered my thinking.
Yesterday for example, I turn up at a place of work to meet a certain person – Mr B. I was about 3 mins early. I identified myself to the reception and explain that Mr B is expecting me. Mr B’s office was just adjacent, so she looked through the glass pane of a door and said “He’s on the phone. As soon as he comes off I’ll email him.” What? Did you get that? You’re now trying to find a reason why she can’t open the door as he comes off the phone and say “Sorry to bother you CW is here for your 2PM appointment.” You’re thinking all sorts – like maybe Mr B is a bully, or that Mr B’s door is locked – or 100 other reasons. Well, at 14:03PM Mr B comes out to welcome me. I’m then taken through the room in which the receptionist was sitting, through the same door she had peeped through minutes earlier and sat with Mr B. Now you’re thinking (probably), “You were treated differently to how B would treat the receptionist.” or “There is some other valid reason.” All you’re doing is finding reasons to explain a weird situation. But what about the email? Did she email B and it popped up on his screen? I don’t know and I honestly couldn’t be bothered to find out. The point is that even if B is/was a bully, the electronic nature of the world facilitated or contributed to this seemingly minor situation.
The ‘reasons’ – even if valid- that one might drum up to explain why someone has to email someone else who is sitting 10 feet away are all within this weird culture. What do I mean by culture? As I’ve always said, ‘it’s the ways of operation’. It’s about patterns that people hardly think much about. But think about it, if email did not exist what would happen in the above? It’s the fact that we have email and it is an ‘instant world’, that leads to this. By the way, the above meeting was initially suggested by Mr B to be via Ms Teams – when B is just 150 yards away from my office. It’s only because I pressed further for FTF that it happened as above.
I ask to meet up for a chat with Mr Head Honcho (HH hereafter). HH suggests a MS Teams virtual meeting. I press for a real FTF meeting. So HH finally agreed. I travelled 35 min. On setting off I texted HH to let him know. When I got to the car park over at HH’s place I let him know by text, that I was walking over to reception. As I get to reception HH is approaching from inside the building and hails out to welcome me in.
Note the instantaneity of text messages, and the swiftness of responsivity. Also note the things that don’t happen in a real 3D space. Gosh I feel like I might need to explain that. But whyyyyyyy? Have people forgotten what it is like in the real world? I know what – blame ‘the virus’; that’s what people do.
Expectations (stupid or not) in an electronic world.
- That it is the real world [- it ain’t!]
- What’s on a screen is real [- it ain’t]
- What’s read on a screen is true [- it ain’t].
- That electronic messages reach brains of other people instantly [- they don’t].
- That people will see and respond almost instantly [- they don’t].
- In a pandemic world we must accept new norms because ‘everyone‘ as to.
- Everybody wants things to happen now – or like yesterday!
- Impatience – leading to anxiety, frustration and anger.
- Loss of thinking time. [Do people think any more? I have to wonder.]
- The use of language in all forms of electronic communication has become (predominantly) almost telegraphic and often times meaningless.
- Miscommunications and misunderstandings are the new normal.
- Increased time-wasting
- Fake news, lies and deceptions.
- Defamation, slander and libel on swifter wider scale.
- Hate speech
- Electronic victimisations and bullying.
- Easier political and social manipulation of minds.
- Poorer reading and comprehension skills.
Did I say the above lists are complete? I did NOT! If you got this far, you can now go away and think about it. Or maybe you’ll be distracted by a zillion pings on your Whatsapp and forget about all this.
Disclaimer & Guidance