What’s not to love about constant communication?
There is no doubt about it: modern methods of communication are extraordinary. The opportunities on offer are essentially endless. Yet the way we use them are arguably far from ideal, whilst the impact constant communication has on any type of relationship can be troubling.
New methods of communication are supposed to free us from our shackles: constant availability should remove the restraints of time and location in reaching out to others. But have we perhaps merely replaced previous constraints with new obligations? Everybody knows that you are essentially always reachable, so a delayed response, especially if you see those two blue ticks on WhatsApp, can be viewed as a slight. Increasingly, no or late replies feel like being actively ignored and create anxiety.
Clearly, nobody wants to admit to such petty thoughts and instead of addressing the issue, more thought goes into the significance of every message, reply-time and emoji. Nobody can deny the additional pressure this puts on any relationship, as modern communication gives trivial gestures the foreground and creates room for unnecessary interpretation. So it’s no surprise that everybody is constantly on some sort of device, just to ensure they don’t inadvertently send the wrong message.
As more time is being consumed in trying to protect other people’s feelings, less time is being given to consider the meaning of one’s words. Constant communication has sapped the last vestiges of genuine caring from the question: ‘How are you?’ and nobody seems to have the time to write ‘I love you’, instead rushing a ‘luv u’ or a ‘<3’. The expectation to be constantly in touch means that we are happy writing anything; repeating conversations and endless goodbyes just so that we don’t have to carry the responsibility for ending the conversation. But does that even constitute communication?
Currently, we are mostly writing a flood of empty, trivial words that amount to nothing. This saps our energy, both in the constant expectation and anxiety we live with as well as the time we spend in keeping up a senseless barrage of communication. Wouldn’t heartfelt messages, written out of a genuine wish to share, be so much more meaningful and apt to show that we care?