Communication in the 21st century

Communication in the 21st century

Communication. What does this mean in the 21st century? Pigeon mail, Cyrano de Bergerac or the town crier…is that an app, are Cyrano or the town crier on facebook?

I might be disclosing my age when I write this but when I was a teenager, we used the phone to speak to our friends. And guess what? It wasn’t a mobile phone. I know, crazy talk right? It was a telephone that had a handset attached to the base of the phone. Ohhh. I almost forgot! The best part…the phone had a dial tone!

Most youngsters today won’t ever hear the sound of a dial tone which for me is quite strange to even think about. Am I that old?

But, I am not here to discuss the inner workings of the telephone. My reason for writing this post comes from a discussion I had yesterday with a new friend who is in her early twenties.

As we were speaking about social behavior, we began discussing how the world around us is moving so quickly due to technology and its availability. Decisions are made faster, news passes at lightning speed, relationships happen so quickly that if you blink, they might be over. As much as people are ready to jump into the next best thing, they are just as soon ready to jump right out.

Commitment phobias, perhaps? Nah, I don’t even know if future generations will understand the term. In the end, to have commitments you need to trust. However, trust cannot be established so quickly no matter what technology is available.

Although the human condition is evolving, in my generation and those prior, we took the time to get to know each other, share details about our lives to find commonality and a level of understanding which would ultimately be the beginning of a trustworthy and value based relationship (in all its forms).

Ugh…really? Who has the time to get to know anyone properly today???

When I spoke with my new friend, she enlightened me that those her age created relationships so quickly that the moment they felt “too close” or believed they would need to confide more than they were willing, it would be over. It seems that many function on a very superficial level-a facade. Getting too deep and sharing too much is something to be feared.

It seems that these youngsters change friends like those with bladder issues change underwear (or Depends).

I can only imagine that marriage vows will eventually become obsolete. Why after all, spend the time to make a relationship work? Professionally, everyone will work for themselves and have 30+ different clients because how boring and dreadful would it be to be stuck with just the one…?

Of course, I do not speak on behalf of all teenagers or early twenty-somethings today but I wouldn’t be totally surprised if this became a norm.

Perhaps I am being too facetious…

I remember when the “world wide web” came into existence…there was a concern that people would prefer to socialize in forums than in real life. We excused this concept as an opportunity for those who found building relationships through regular channels as a challenge and the internet therefore gave them the opportunity to have some semblance of a social life.

Fast forward all of a few years and today, conversing over online networks is considered normal. No one thinks twice about making new friends, building new relationships whether for dating or work prospects abnormal behavior if done through cyberspace. After all, we do live in a virtual world.

So…just how deep can you get with someone you don’t really know? Pretty deep, I would think. After all, isn’t that why many go to therapists to share their issues? However, we are not discussing therapists but 21st century “friendships”. However, it seems there simply isn’t the interest in having “friendships” like in the old days, according to my new friend. That would take time, patience and effort. And of course, disclosing innermost feelings and thoughts.

In the end, using the facade of all these technological gadgets protects the true identity of the individual behind the tool…wait a minute…I believe we call these “individuals” by their new 21st century name: avatar. Get too close and they may change their shape or colour.

It seems the old days of “meeting” someone face to face and having a conversation without the distraction of some device are slowly disappearing. (And don’t get me started on face to face because most people are face down on their pda’s!)

The concept of tapping into your gut and trusting your instincts is a thing of the past. After all, we have google search now! This can easily open up into a new discussion on common sense and good judgement which I personally was taught by my parents and teachers. I often wonder if that is still something of value in households today or if we trust the internet searches more?

In the end, it seems that if the next generations are only going to be “friends” for a hot second until the next flavor of the day, week or month, does it really matter what your gut says?

If communication in the 21st century is created around 140 characters or less, I can see why building a deep relationship can take a long time. Honestly, in an age where everything moves so quickly, who has time to share more details if having to type out more characters?