Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Instant Communication Works for Family - everyone else should edit first!

Interesting, very interesting. Yesterday's post scored HUGE on the hit counter (check it out at, Not Always the Gospel Truth). And all the responses were positive - another "Who knew?" There are, evidently, some conversations we really must continue to explore...

Hi Rachel; hi Faith; hi Tom....
And, while we're on the topic of conversations, Rebekah and I fielded an excited call from my favorite niece-named-Faith yesterday evening. "Hang up and call me back," she said. "But while it's ringing chose the 'face-time' option! This is so cool." And then she was gone.

Cool if you know enough about technology to follow what's being said! Well, long story short I flubbed the first attempt, figured out I needed to switch Rebekah's iPhone over to the "Wi-fi" setting, tracked down our wireless security code, punched in the numbers again and then selected the 'face-time' option once it was ringing.

And, way cool indeed, there we were - watching Rebekah's Virginia Beach family looking back at us through their new iPad, and all was right with the connectional world.

VIRTUALITY: There are several ways to try to understand this video-phone phenomenon. Were they looking into their iPad and then out into our living room? Were they simply looking at an image of us, projected onto their screen? Or were we all meeting up somewhere in the space between, temporarily inhabiting a virtual reality?

This image made it onto the Internet just moments after I took it at 6:45 this morning
We seem to have such a need for immediacy in our world today:
  • Correspondence has moved from letters that took months, to the Pony Express, to trains, to airplanes, to emails, to IMing, to texting.
  • I used to write newspaper articles that I mailed in, then I started dropping them off at the office on a disk, then we switched to email. Now this blog/column will be posted by 10:00 today. It will be tweeted shortly thereafter.
  • The sunrise I photographed at 6:45 this morning was on facebook before 6:46.
  • When I left home at 18 I'd send the occasional letter, plus we tried to talk on the phone every couple of weeks. Today I'll likely talk with Naomi three or four times, we'll exchange a handful of texts, and there will be pictures too.
But here's my question - are we actually communicating any better? Are our connections as sound as they were before? Are we able to conjure up substance in the instant mode, or has the bulk of our communication been reduced to drivel?

I'm not drawing any conclusions here, just raising the question.

O.J. in his famous white Bronco
I remember watching parts of the famous "O.J. Simpson white Bronco car chase" on television. What was remarkable was how it all played out at around 15-mph, lasting an interminable time. Ten minutes into the farce I concluded that a two-minute summary on the late-night news would be much better than watching lots of nothing happen in real-time.

Yet, somehow, millions of people were hooked by the idea of "instant", "real-time", and "breaking news." Now we can participate in "reality" irrespective of if we're actually there or not.

Personally I believe real-time is over-rated. Give me something someone has worked on, edited, fine-tuned, finessed and nurtured into a fine piece of correspondence/news/entertainment.

Repeat after me, people, E.D.I.T... Edit!
But... when it comes to family, I'll still take them live, unrehearsed and as it happens. The rest of the world can (please...) leave 99% of their content on the cutting room floor!
(I edited this before posting!) - DEREK

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