Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Instant Communication - Blessing and Curse

Momentary amazement at modern technology, and a very busy day at the shop yesterday, left me totally exhausted by the time night came. Usually my mail orders are made via email - thus the term mail orders. Yesterday I had email questions back and forth for one order, another order was phoned in, and an international order for my friend Shruti in India.

Mail order used to be something like the Book-of-the-Month Club
or Columbia House for music. These were easy to join, but so hard
to get out of. My mail orders are filled one at a time for specific
customers. No need to fear receiving unordered and unwanted items. 

Here's the thing, though. A few years ago what Shruti and I were doing to get her order figured out and finalized would have been impossible. She wanted colored cording to use in projects, and because of modern technology, I was able to talk with her via FB Messenger, send her numerous photos of what I was choosing for her, and finally get her approval for the colors, sizes, and number of items that will be packed and put into the mail to her later today. It's my day off, but I'll push this one through while I open the store. I'd rather not keep her waiting.

I'm not a huge fan of Facebook Messenger, but for this application
it was perfect. I was able to text back and forth with Shruti,
determine that the product she originally wanted wouldn't
work for her, switch to a different product, take photos and
send her those in real time, it worked great. Her package will
go off to her today. 

All of this action took place on my smartphone - the gadget that has grown from just being a portable phone to being a full-fledged portable computer. Although I don't type my invoices out on it, I do print the shipping labels out from my phone and do so many other things. I'm totally amazed at this small, powerful computer that fits into my pants pocket.

The Vietnam War was the first war to come into our living rooms
in "real life". It wasn't splashed across a newspaper headline, it was
announced by Walter Cronkite every night as we sat down to dinner. 

For my younger friends, a hand-held phone that can be used to read books, play games, communicate via voice or text, and surf the web is almost a yawn. It's common and everyday. But I'm a bit older than my younger friends. I remember corded land lines, even party lines (those were shared telephone lines, for those of you who don't know or remember). I remember operators at switchboards and pay phones - which actually probably still exist in a few locations. I remember when bulletins on TV brought us the latest news, and I remember the Vietnam War - the first war brought into our living rooms by the media.

Human beings react to news - good and bad - often emotionally and
without a lot of thought. Tempers can flare and in today's instant
environment, that can mean anger moving into action without
fully thinking through the consequences of that action. 

It makes me wonder if we've learned anything at all. We're still at war, even though our communication has gotten so good we know what happens across the world within seconds. Communication is a two-edged sword and sometimes a bit of time and distance can grant a necessary perspective. That small waiting time between speaking in haste and acting with thought often disappears within our modern technology. So, as you're interacting with others today, take a moment to think before you speak or text. Happy Tuesday - I have my day "off" today instead of tomorrow. I'll be messed up all week because of this - LOL ...

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