Sunday, August 09, 2009

“Bigger- (Not) Better- (Definitely) Faster- More …“

I think it’s official. NO matter how hard I try (and I have to tell you, not very hard!), I cannot keep up with the kids nowadays! And by “kids” I mean everyone from 18 to 60 year olds that are buying into all this faster by the minute technology and gadgets! I guess you can say I am not hip. – do they even say that anymore?!

I have talked about my technological communication challenges before . I have an old and antiquated phone that does nothing but ring and dial: no pictures, no text, no emails, no internet, no APPs, for God’s sake!!! It does what a phone was intended to do. ‘Cause all those communication devices they have nowadays that do everything from tell you the weather, tell you where you’re going in the car, and maybe cook you dinner are not phones! Are some sort of newly invented, Star Trek – like props, but no phones!

I do not have an ipod – never had one, and not missing one, either; I have never played a video game, wii, or any kind of other extraterrestrial invented game. I JUST got a GPS, but that was a gift, I didn’t seek it out for myself. I will tell you, however, the GPS I like! It’s the second thing after a computer with internet that I find completely useful in this world. Something that can indeed improve my existence!

But I cannot keep up for another reason … You see, I am amongst the very few Americans out there that still send cards. I mean, hard copy, paper, with a stamp on it cards, for all sorts of occasions. Sometimes, for no occasion at all. When someone means that much to me, I think it’s a way of saying just that. But I do email, a lot, too, when I need to get my point across and get it across fast. It’s useful. It’s not personal, but it fulfils a very specific task that stamped mail doesn’t: instant gratification! For me. I know you texters and Twitterers out there are chuckling.

So, as a user of both forms of communicating, I have always thought the opposite of “snail mail” has to be, in our world, the e-mail, right?! Even I, without a fancy communication device (that others call “phone”), can get an email out to Romania, for instance, faster than any hard- copy, paper letter can reach. But the other night, at one of my meetings, I was awakened at how deep I am buried in the past, once again.

I am a member of a certain civic organization in Guilford County. And we have a weekly news brief that lets people know about our happenings and when the meetings are, as well as a monthly newsletter that covers even more news about our organization. Both these are send out electronically, by email. For months, the leaders of this organization have complained (and rightfully so) of low participation to our meetings. We even have a website – that apparently no one reads, because they don’t come to check us out. People just don’t show up!

Well, a new era has apparently begun for our little organization, because this past meeting, we had a fantastic turnout! According to the membership VP, it is all because we just launched a Twitter account.

His rationale was simple, and daunting (paraphrase): “Thank you, all new members and visitors, for coming. We’ve been waiting for you. Apparently, you open a Twitter account, write on there at noon ‘membership meeting at such and such place at 6.30 PM’, and Boom! – you get turnout!”

It made me wonder: WOW! Could e-mail be obsolete??? No way! But I thought for a minute, in despair (I don’t do well with yet another new invention to encourage your hands to work less, your patience to be even shorter, and your brain to think even shallower!), about the “new” faster than fast future ahead of me:

First off, Twitter “hits” people faster (and shorter?!?) than email: I guess email takes, my Gosh, effort - even precious seconds you can be using to get home and wii?!?, or text your mom about the bloating the beans gave you over lunch - to click and open, and read through all the other crap you’re not interested in, but with a sweet and short (not sure how sweet) message on Twitter (you don’t need anyone’s email address for that – extra effort!! ), you get straight to the point, and if people follow, they act on it right away! It’s amazing how the modern world works nowadays: new thing- faster-less words-less brain power-I’m THERE! I wonder what Pavlov’s dog would do…

So, that begs the question: is email the new snail mail?!? Because, oh my God, if that’s the case, I will be stuck in the “past” forever! There is no digging me out of the email and blogging paradise I am in, comfortably.

How much faster can we move? How much faster can people want to be moving?? We’re already multitasking as a culture, and we’re all developing accelerating A.D.D. from it, now, we’re supposed to move even faster and respond to “life” even in a shorter yet time?!? I am dizzy!

On top of not taking pictures with my “communication device”, I do not text either. I do not have caller ID at home, and I do not Twitter. And I do not update 89 of my friends and acquaintances on Facebook of my every move. Nor do I get their updates on my Facebook page until I get home at night.

And these are things I will not plan to change any time soon. So, if I’ll have something to say, and you’re interested in hearing it, please read my emails. Or my blogs – whichever you think is … faster… ?!?

PS: Thank you, 4 Non Blondes, for the title inspiration… Do people remember them, anymore, or is that too old school, as well?! I can’t keep up!

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