Emotionless, instant communications, Huston we have a problem

Below is a blog I had to write for my Uni course. I’m a single mum to one, mature student studying Theology and loving every minute of it.

I cannot seem to find anything topical to write about but there’s something on my mind that eats away every now and then. It’s not topical because it is in our lives everyday. How people react to something that is in black and white, online and showing no emotions. I have written about this before but it is amazing how often the subject of online communications, instant messaging, text messages and so on, comes up. It is how the messages are interpreted by different people that never ceases to amaze me. However, I have had to read something more than once and then think about it to make sure that I am not over reacting.

Proper scientific study groups have researched the subject of online dialogue and the outcome is never the same nor does the problem ever get solved. Today’s society is brought up on what is instant be it food, the Internet, answering a phone or even a message. Everyone wants something now and that is not even fast enough any more.

Patience and rational thinking seem to be a thing of the past and people fly off the cuff at seemingly innocent remarks because they react to a negative first. It is strange and somewhat sad to realise that this might be the next evolutionary step in the human being. It is our fault as a society that we have allowed this to happen. It is our fault that we continue to encourage the instant society. Person skills like developing patience, rational thinking and taking a deep breath seem to be forgotten in some cases. Arguments develop when there was never an ill word spoken, literally.

I have been caught in this trap on more than one occasion and I am so upset when I realise that the text message or email was never meant to offend me but it was my perception that offended me and that I allowed myself to be caught up in the instant reaction scenario.

This also differs between generations where a hip middle aged mother like me misunderstands the meaning of the humble exclamation mark! Apparently, this now means that you are shouting at someone if you use it in a text message. I have never associated an exclamation mark with raising your voice so perhaps I am not a modern mum after all and the quick changing pace of text character meanings changes faster than you could possibly type it.

Our lesson in this has to be not to let yourself be swept up in the sewer of misunderstanding and a lack of patience. It is probably time to do something old fashioned like switch off the mobile phone or computer and stare out the window or go sit in the garden and look up and around instead of joining the new zombie race of staring at a glowing box in your hand.

Enjoy creation, enjoy people, enjoy conversation and practice the art of listening and holding your tongue before speaking. It is not an easy thing to do but nevertheless patience is an art form that is borne out of long years of practice and evolution. Let us not lose our attachment to that.

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