this whole twitter craze got me thinking a lot lately. besides the curious thoughts of the business model behind twitter (not for others, cell phone companies are making money with their plan upgrades, people building twitter apps are making money through ad-funded models, etc.) for themselves, it caused me to think about my use of technology and how other people use it as well.
twitter has become a new instant messenger of sorts i think. i see much more messages flying across with @username: what are you doing, etc. type comments. i chuckle when i see messages like that and *that* is what made me realize how technology has been an enabler of avoidance tools.
so how many avoidance tools do you have that you use to avoid personal contact with people? here are some of mine...
not answering the door/no soliciting signs: well, maybe not technology, but i remember growing up where people left doors open, neighbors sat out on the driveways with each other after work and talked, etc. now it's open garage-drive in-close garage. doorbell rings? if you weren't expecting anyone do you answer? i barely even bother looking through the peephole anymore -- and now the 'hoods are flooded with no soliciting signs. minor, but notable.
voice mail and caller id: voice mail has been around for ages. perhaps the best demonstration of this is in seinfeld's episode where george is avoiding the inevitable break-up with his girlfriend. he won't answer the phone and uses the voicemail machine to screen calls. c'mon, who hasn't done that? now with digital voicemail, it's a bit more processing to screen calls because you may be using a service rather than a machine...so now you have to wait for that tone to tell you that you have to check who you avoided. caller id? heck do you answer a call anymore from a number you don't know? and what about instant-reply on voice-mail? listen to a v-mail, rather than call back you use the "reply with voicemail" feature as long as you are on the same network.
email: do i even need to explain this? seriously, my wife has to send me email to get things accomplished. sad i know, but true. my inbox has become my life to-do list
instant messaging: ah the instant nag. ping/pong of messages. don't have time to call/respond to v-mail/email? use an IM. it's quick, but we're still avoiding talking to each other. would an IM conversation happen quicker if you just picked up the phone?
sms: the new mobile instant messenger. what's funny is that *you are using your phone* to text someone. wouldn't it make more sense to call?
twitter: now a combination of all of the above...and adding the lovely feature of me now knowing what you are doing on every random moment (heck, i'm guilty of using this now as well)...but i still find it amusing that we are instant messaging the world the fact that we are headed to breakfast.
fascinating, how many tools enable me to avoid talking to you as a person...:-)
heck, even this blog...