Communications Overload

When we joke about information overload and how it’s a modern world, I’m not sure everyone appreciates just how pervasive technology has become for communications.

For example, this is how I communicate with various relatives and friends (in no particular order):

  • Skype (on my laptop or my iPhone). There are a couple of friends who don’t live locally with whom I only use Skype to communicate. In one case, my friend travels a lot and when he lights up his webcam, the background can be anything from his home office to a hotel balcony overlooking a beach resort.
  • Instant Messaging (IM). This is mostly used by colleagues who have moved on, but includes some other friends too. I use Yahoo, AOL, and Windows Live, all using the same userid (my Hotmail address, without the Hotmail part).
  • Text Messages. There are a few friends for whom text message is simplest because of time zones in the USA and we rarely chat any other way. This is also a common way for my girls to reach out to me during the working day or when I’m out for the evening OR WHEN I’M IN A DIFFERENT PART OF THE HOUSE!!
  • E-mail (Verizon POP3, on my PC or iPhone). I have a personal e-mail account that I use for general stuff (In fact, I have a few of them — a throw-away one for companies to send marketing stuff to, one that I share with the kids for school stuff, etc.). I still have some long-time friends and a few newer friends where back-and-forth e-mails are our primary means of contact. Sometimes we flip e-mails around quickly, sometimes it’s weeks between e-mails.
  • E-mail (Hotmail, on my PC or iPhone). I use a Hotmail account with WordPress. For most WordPress friends and some other friends, e-mail using the web client on my phone is the primary means of contact. It has the advantage that it doesn’t get blocked at work and I can access it from my iPhone or any PC.
  • Twitter (via iPhone). I have one friend in Europe who will send me a direct Tweet before any other means of communication. This is fine by me AND horrible because my iPhone displays a ‘badge’ as soon as her Tweet is received BUT responses are limited to 140 characters. For me, this limitation SUCKS!
  • Facebook Messages (on my PC or iPhone). Some of my cousins are hopeless with e-mail and instead send me messages via Facebook. My niece does this because she doesn’t have an e-mail client on her phone but can access the Facebook web page.
  • Facebook Chat (on my laptop or iPhone). Late at night before I go to bed, sometimes I logon to Facebook to see what’s been happening. The Chat feature is simple and quick to use and I occasionally end up in long conversations with people who live a few streets away or relatives in Australia who are in the middle of their day.
  • Words with Friends Chat (iPhone App). As part of playing this online Scrabble-like game, it’s possible to send simple messages back and forth. One ex-girlfriend of mine from years ago invited me to play recently. We now spend as much time chatting via this feature as via any other mechanism.
  • Telephone (that thing with the cordless handset). Yes, it’s unbelievable, but I talk to some friends by *phone*. After all this time! Amazing!
  • IN PERSON. Yes, it’s even more unbelievable, but I MEET some friends face-to-face! Wow!

The point to remember here is that this isn’t MY choice. This is how my friends and relatives prefer to make contact or keep in touch. For some people, if I insisted on switching to another means of contact, I’d likely lose the connection because it’s simply not convenient for them for technical or personal reasons.

Oh, I forgot to mention. There are a half-dozen or more people with whom I communicate via AT LEAST *5* different means of communication. We use whichever is most convenient at the moment we need to make contact. Weird but true!

When I read blog posts about women who are miffed by a guy — a potential suitor — who has chosen to make contact in a way they find less comfortable, I chortle to myself. Swap with me for a few weeks and see if you still complain!

So, for you, do you have another means of communication I don’t use? Do you care HOW someone makes contact anymore, provided they do?

About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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4 Responses to Communications Overload

  1. OR WHEN Iā€™M IN A DIFFERENT PART OF THE HOUSE!! Hahahahahah, that is hilarious!!! My kid texts me night before last to tell me to turn the tv down…

    and hey…tweet me šŸ™‚ @DoMaH64

  2. TikkTok says:

    My kids and I have done Google chat when we’re in the same house. šŸ™‚ If caller ID doesn’t tell me who is calling and/or I don’t want to talk to who is- I will let the machine get it. I despise the phone. šŸ˜†

    • My dad used to hate using the phone. For a long time, I would call him and, after about 10 minutes of talking, he’d get very uncomfortable and terminate the call. Once he finalllly got used to it, he’d talk to me for hours.

      Sending an IM or text message from within the same house is definitely ’21st century’!

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