Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's Nothin' Personal

Was thinkin' 'bout how much we depend on email & online interaction these days - then my mind wandered off, as usual, to related tangents, like daily tasks & it turned into a stinkin' post. My bad but here goes:

It's so easy to fire off an email instead of making a phone call. I do it all the time. I'll usually email someone in an adjoining office rather than have to have a face to face conversation. Saves time. It's more efficient & less annoying. OUCH!

We stay in touch using FaceBook. Snap a photo & instantly add the picture to our sites or profile pages. Blog about what's on our minds. We send e-cards, or text messages from iPhones. Order a book for a Kindle or Reader & begin reading the latest thriller in 60 seconds. We network, mentor, advise, critique, whine, offer opinions & put whatever else we feel like online. No boundaries or time lag.

This year we spent Christmas with our grandkids & 2 sons - using a Webcam & microphone. They live 1000 miles north of here. Didn't have a choice. (Job interference.) It was funny/sad when 4 year old Isabel tried to hug us through the screen. Little kids are great & she's a real cutie. Shopping online? - Yeah, we do that too & can even include a card with a message at no extra cost.

Breaking news becomes old news in a matter of hours & the old news is forgotten with a mouse click. Newspapers can't compete in this age of instant information updates & most are circling the proverbial drain. Book publishers are scrambling to survive. The inefficiencies of their century-old business model is killing their bottom line & the upstarts, using new technology, are devouring market share. Magazines? They're all going broke. Catalogs or phone books? Get real.

Which leads to: Would there be so many writers (or wannabes) if everything was 1st handwritten or banged out on a manual typewriter? No copy & paste? No delete? Edit? Formatting? Scrolling? I sure as heck wouldn't be here. (Admission: I still have to look at the keys & use only 3 fingers to type.)

People without access to, or the expertise in using the technology are lost - & will fall further behind. My mother will never learn how to do her banking online. She's never even used an ATM. Of course, she also argued with me about the power windows feature in her car. Didn't want them. Too fancy. Sometimes I can't believe I grew up with indoor plumbing.

Last week's post drew 3 comments from Canada, & 1 each from New Mexico, Florida, Georgia, & Colorado. (Other blogs with major league traffic would make that stat look sick.) Blink - there we all were, a few keystrokes, & we're hangin' out. Common interests & topics  discussed. Encouragement offered, laughs shared, comments about family swapped - kinda like old friends. (But we've never met & probably never will). Isn't that kinda strange? Maybe it's even a little creepy. Are the folks on the screen good people - the real deal? How can anyone really know? Am I the real deal or just a screwball online personality created to hide who or what I am or might be. Creepy huh?

I'm almost done. Stay with me here. I'll make a point. Sort of.

When's the last time you used a pen to write a letter? Wrote a check? Bought a newspaper? Who carries a wad of cash these days? I haven't even seen my accountant in person since 2002!

For all of the conveniences that the internet & gadgets offer, it seems we're heading toward a very impersonal future. I suppose we'll just hafta blog about the good old days when we were able to make eye contact with people & see who was real & who was really creepy.