The mercurial nature of human beings is a well known fact, ever since mankind has been around. But technology reveals glimpses of it, ever so simply and strikingly. Forget about time tested old ways of communication of the last century, let’s look at the more recent inventions. Launched hardly six years back and made popular in the last couple of years the messenger service Whatsapp has already upstaged the SMS. Many people don’t have the habit of replying to emails. It can be quite annoying for the sender. But then you have to give the benefit of doubt and think of a thousand excuses why the person did not reply. So we stopped expecting people to reply to our emails long back, but now it appears that people don’t reply to even SMSes.
A casual SMS enquiry to a friend ‘What’s new’ goes unattended and gets answered only if the medium is new as well. It appears that the medium is indeed the massage! Time and again McLuhan’s truism is validated by technology. The attraction of the medium is more the reason for messaging, than the genuine interest in enquiry. You get a kick out of using a new app. Looks like technology has taken the depth out of our relationships and rendered them shallow. We are scared of swimming in the deep end, and continue to splash around in the shallow waters.
Most of us got our email accounts only as far back as say fifteen years. When it was new we were so taken up with it. We logged in everyday to see what’s new and who has written to us. There those famous chain emails that brought a spot of cheer first thing in the morning into our lives. We thought it was so nice to be connected to the human kind and share good thoughts and feelings, until someone started e mail bombing like nobody’s business and took the fun out of the whole thing. We stopped forwarding those chain mails and slowly the whole trend petered out. All those human bonds vanished in one big virtual poof!
So it was just our fascination with the new toy and not the need to connect with fellow humans. These trends at best can be described as seasonal – they come with full force like a rash, stay for a certain period and then vanish. It remains to be seen what the next wave of technology will bring to the shore and where it takes us in the chaotic ocean of human interactions.