The End of Substance

We are more connected than ever before in history. I was watching a B movie that a friend had let me borrow. The movie was everything that I would expect from a B movie but it made me think of how much communication had changed. It had pigeons on it that were used to send messages in a modern setting… it made me think that we have come a long way from smoke signals… but in our lifetime we have stepped communication to a whole new level. During the 90s pagers became something that someone else other than doctors had access to, then everyone got a cellphone during the 2000s and in the last couple of years it seems like everyone is on Facebook.

This is an extremely exciting time to live in and witness how technology is making things of wonder, like the walkman, become obsolete. Entertainment, such as 3D movies, can now be enjoyed from your livingroom.

I do however feel that all this fluff of access and even instant entertainment is taking away some of the substance of communication between humans.

Twitter and even Facebook let us share small tidbits of our lives that others might even comment on. Our interaction there seems similar to what blogs used to provide, but in a lot of ways the interactions lack substance. Any kind of real discussion can turn into a Twitter war, and since people are not really face to face everything seems to escalate.

Back in the early days of the internet forums used to provide this type of interactions, often times around a hobby or common interest. Everyone kind of got used to each others internet tone and even though there was conflict it was almost always intended by one party to turn out that way.

Now I have seen several situations where people take a very public avenue to air out grievances while everyone else witnesses the onslaught. From a breakup being broadcasted to everyone in the “friends” proximity to a political or religious view bashed to pieces.

Conversations that would never happen around a living room or a family gathering seem to be out in the open; and while some of it might be positive (its always good to see people’s true colors) some of it lacks substance.

Besides my wife, I have only a limited number of people that I actually hold meaningful conversations with. Conversations that are discussions trying to elicit not just response but actual thought.

My interaction with people even around the world has been made instant, but the substance in many of those interactions seem to be gone and actual communication seldom accomplished.

Myspace is the perfect example. It was a useful tool for maybe a year but then it turned into an overinflated shoutbox with blinking text all over. I don’t think many people visit or even have a myspace anymore… well at least not the people I interact with. It seems that now points of view are about who has the loudest and most obnoxious sparkle than actual thought behind it.

What good is the communication age if all we do with it is shout our views to each other, but not actually listen or think.

3 Responses to The End of Substance

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head, when you mentioned that communicating online shows you a person’s true colors.

    When people don’t have to sit there, face-to-face, with the person they’re verbally attacking, it’s a lot easier to be brave and on the attack. Which is why often times, when you actually meet the Outspoken Online types, they’re very timid and shy in person.

  2. John Golden

    I have seen many of online dramas unfold on twitter. It was entertaining for me, but it was not the correct form of communication for the episode.

    Also, online social tools have become the same as 24 hour news channels. We have more ways to say something, but not much of what we say is useful or productive.

  3. great post. in this communication age the louder is the better == fail

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