Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Your best friend comes over to meet you after a long time, and before anything else he asks you, “Hi! Tere paas Nokia ka charger hai (Do you have a Nokia charger?).”
You get a call from your friend and before asking, “How are you?” he asks, “Where are you?”
On one side I am intrigued by the changing nature of our pleasantries and on the other I am surprised by our growing and insatiable desire to keep in touch with people. Even if it effectively means ‘sacrificing our presence’ at a place (and this sacrifice is not necessarily for ‘work’).
Someone has rightly mentioned, “being always accessible, makes us inaccessible”.
In times of Continuous Partial Attention (CPA) in place of being committed to people or places ‘we are committed only to being communicated with’.
There are people who are self-confessed net addicts wedded to their web mail account. They keep checking their mails throughout the day, even when nothing urgent is happening; they are in a constant state of ‘updation’!
As Steven Johnson has rightly pointed out - Aimlessness is the price we pay for interactivity. This is what seems to be happening with the click-happy young folk.
‘Continuous mediation by mail’ or any form of communication, including mobile phone, also interrupts flow of thought. As people connect more, they tend to behave more like ‘nodes’. These nodes ‘expect inputs and can interact’ but are not much of a ‘hub’ that ‘generates output’.
Contrary to common perception that communication expands social circle, our people preferences are actually getting solidified into sharply defined groups and many of us are beginning to be less inclusive than ever.
No doubt there are virtual communities, that are giving an entirely new meaning to socialization in cyberspace, but for people who are not seeking to connect with strangers on the net– hi fidelity has brought about privacy of highest order and ended up defining interest groups much more sharply than ever before.
It is only ‘wonderers’, who seem to be drifting in the open cyberspace. These ‘wonderers’ are wanting to align with some group or individual and many a times end up extending their communities in real world into the cyber space. So they end up scrapping the same set of people that they are anyway writing and forwarding e-mails to and keep exchanging texts with. I am sure you’d have been accosted at least once by someone you meet everyday, with something like, “Hi, how are you? Did you read my scarp?”
‘Scrap’ is one more thing that has gotten attached to an already over-bloated list of things that a user needs to keep checking (Email – personal & official, mobile text, voice mail, home mail box, missed call list and so on and so forth).
With so much communication happening, so much more to be said and so many mail and message boxes to be checked, can you really blame your friend for asking for a Nokia charger? ; )