Years ago when I lived in D.C., I felt so emotionally exhausted one day that I unplugged my telephone. This was in the Dark Ages, when cell phones — if they existed — were the size of dinner plates and had the reception reserved for those crappy mics at drive-through restaurants where what you get in that take-out bag may be leagues away from what you actually ordered.
Anyway . . .
I completely forgot that my phone was unplugged.
As the weeks went by with nary a ring, I sank into deeper and deeper despair. No one loved me. No one cared whether I lived or died. No one would discover my body until the end of the month when the rent came due.
Fast forward to today and the ever-expanding ways we can let someone else know we’re thinking of them: snail mail, cell phone messages, emails, tweets, FB comments and likes, pokes, IM-ing and so many more of which I’m not aware. But what happens when one or two or three of those fail?
I thought about this when my home email froze the other day. People were surely contacting me, but I couldn’t respond . . . I had no easy way of even knowing who had tried. Then I lost my mailbox key for a couple of days. Was there something in that metal box that deserved more attention than the usual grumpiness I feel when faced with a handful of bills?
Communication isn’t what it used to be. At least back in those Dark Ages, a person wouldn’t assume you were ignoring him or her if you didn’t respond.
Today expectations have changed. I think we’re all a bit more irritable and more apt to assume slights where none are meant. An era ago, a letter took weeks to arrive and weeks for a response. Phone calls went unanswered and, even more importantly, they often went unknown because there weren’t machines to capture the miss.
Now, I propose that the assumption is usually that an unanswered phone call, email or comment has a meaning when, in truth, it simply might not have been received.
All this comes up today because we’ve been having troubles with comments on Murderati.
It’s difficult to post them right now.
They get “moderated” for some odd reason.
The discussion behind the scenes is filled with concern: Are we losing our readers because they can’t interact with us? We don’t know.
I sure hope not.
And I hope that if you have a comment and can’t post here, you’d know to contact me — or my fellow ‘Rati — on our personal website emails . . . or on Facebook.
For now, we’re trying to figure out how to work with Squarespace to resolve the issue. Please accept my — our — apologies . . . but don’t assume we’re ignoring you!
My questions for today:
1. Do you agree that the way we communicate has changed since the advent of, say, the pocket-size cell phone?
2. Have our expectations (and, perhaps our patience) changed?