It’s hard to imagine a time when it took six months or longer for a letter to reach it’s intended, a time before telephones, a time when phone lines shared a party line, a time of rotary phones, princess phones, oh the excitement of the first cordless phones!
Do you remember a time when you stored the phone numbers of all the important people in your life inside your head? Of course, the string of numbers was probably shorter, maybe five digits, or at most seven digits.
Now phone numbers in the States contain at least ten digits and most working people have at least two distinct phone numbers, a professional one and a personal one. We keep phone numbers in speed dials or in digital contact lists. Some people don’t even know their own personal phone number!
The choices of communication increase like the grey hairs on my head. We can still write letters, of course, but personal letters are becoming as rare as dinosaur teeth. There’s email, and again, most folks have multiple email addresses. Then there are a plethora of messaging apps. Our phone lines provide messaging capabilities. Facebook pushes Messenger. Twitter has a distinct Instant Message” feature. Instagram has Direct Message. Nextdoor, the nationwide neighborhood network has it’s Private Message feature. There’s WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype, Rebtel, Viber, Google Voice, and a host of other options for international messaging.
Now we need a filing system just to keep our messaging conversations straight. My ultimate pet peeve is friends who indulge in group messages with nothing but a string of mystery phone numbers to identify the participants–so, I’m having an ongoing conversation with Who Knows?
Communication is a great thing. It has never been easier. But it has also never been so darned complicated. What do you love or hate about our myriad forms of personal communication?