diamond geezer

 Friday, January 22, 2010

Even twenty years ago, it used to be easy to know when you had a message. Your landline phone would ring, or your letterbox would rattle (at some regular time before nine), or your neighbour would yell 'yoohoo' over the garden fence. Easily noticed, hard to miss.

It's not quite so obvious to know when you have a message today. Notifications come far more frequently than before, in a huge variety of forms, creating an electronic clamour where individual threads are increasingly easy to overlook. We may be spoken to more often, but the danger is that we hear less.

Landlines don't ring like they used to, even though they're increasingly reliable and cheap. Everybody's got a mobile now so people prefer to ring that, rather than keeping their fingers crossed you're sitting at home attached to a coiled up cable. Mobile phones are great for communication here there and everywhere, but only if they're actually switched on and audible. Many's the time I've missed a call because I didn't hear the ringtone, or missed the vibration, or simply overlooked the text message arriving unheralded in my pocket. "I called you, you must have noticed, why are you ignoring me?"

Email's a wonderful thing, so long as you spot it. That little envelope which pops up in the corner of your screen, is it there, is it there, is it there... oh, how long's that been there? And that other email account you've got, be it Hotmail or Gmail or whatever, are you certain there isn't a message waiting in another window? Take your eye off your inbox, any inbox, and unseen notifications pile up.

Numerous messaging services proliferate on the web, and you probably participate in several. Instant pop-ups, Facebook pokes, micro-Twitter, internet forums - a multitude of different locations to talk, debate and argue. Generally there's a box to type into, then a pause while you wait to see who (if anyone) will respond. This might take a few seconds, or there might be time to go make a cup of tea, or you might hear nothing back until tomorrow. Do you hang around and wait, do you come back and check every five minutes, or do you leave your return rather longer? Online messaging can be the most inefficient timewasting way to conduct any form of conversation, if you allow it.

Has your favourite blog updated recently? You could go check, or you could scrutinise the RSS feed, or you might take the lazy way out and wait for a tweet saying there's a new post instead. There are so many ways to find out, but most require you to look rather than being told. Are you sure there isn't something new out there to read? Did you miss the beep, or the ping, or the flash, or whatever? Better refresh the page, just in case, and maybe then refresh it again for good measure.

We communicate in so many different media, in so many different locations, that's it's getting ever harder to keep in touch. Notifications stream thick and fast, competing for our attention, sometimes in plain view, sometimes out of sight. Give it another ten years and there'll be so much information flooding our way that we'll need to filter out 99% or drown. Don't get left out of the conversation, but don't let keeping up drag you under.

(Hasn't he written anything new yet?) <f5> (not yet, try again later)

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream