Monday, November 18, 2013

Electronic expectations - Part Eighteen

Over my backpacking weekend, I received four FB messages, two voicemails, and six direct emails. Of those twelve messages, each one being purposely left for me and not part of a mass message, three of them were followed up with somewhat testy messages because I had not replied. My first thought was that maybe these individuals didn't know I was out in the woods. And then I realized that each one of those messages mentioned my trip, right alongside a little bit of guilt for not returning the previous message.

And then it hit me... each of those people probably had the impression I had/have a smart phone, which, of course, gives me access to everything... email, FB, Twitter, everything. I mean, what normal person in this day-n-age doesn't have some version of a smart phone, right? Well, this guy doesn't, that's who. Worse than that, who could ever imagine someone else turning off their phone? Well, I had my phone off most of the long weekend, that's who.

It's interesting to me the expectations that the iPhone (and every other phone that's followed behind it) have imprinted onto our brains. I'm not talking about being able to Google anything, find our way using online maps, listening to music, taking pictures, updating FB and Twitter, having conversations with our thumbs, calling people by just saying their names, or everything else these amazing pieces of technology can do... no, I'm talking about the fact that they have created in our brains the expectation that all of us can do all of those things at any given moment. Even, as it turns out, on the top of a mountain or the bottom of a valley.

Obviously I'm not talking about whether or not you have cell phone reception, rather the fact that people except everyone around them to be at the same level of technology as they themselves have. Or maybe looked at from a different angle: expect everyone else to be as electronically connected as they themselves are. These kind of expectations can lead to annoyance, anger, or maybe even sadness, when we don't get responses or replies in the timing we expect them.

There's probably no need for me to spell out the moral of the story here. I'll wrap this up by saying this: it might do us all a world of good to not put any expectations on those we try to reach out to. Just because the world is at our fingertips, doesn't mean those we are trying to find are the same distance away.


Blogger Adrienne said...

I'm not sure if that sounds like technology addiction or bad manners!

12:58 AM  

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