Remember a much simpler time…
The advances made in technology today is nothing short of amazing. Computers, smartphones, artificial intelligence, social media, robots, online banking and the list goes on and on. Some of us past the age of 50 remember a much simpler time when technology was there, but we did not depend on it the way we do now.
As a kid I remember our old black and white television that got maybe 4 or 5 channels. Then cable TV came along and 5 channels became 50 channels, then 100 and then 200! Our telephones were wired to the wall and could not walk but a few steps while talking on the phone. Students would go to the library when they needed to do research for a school project.
I think the advances in technology have helped us. Then there are days when I think we have lost our way.
Now, of course, computers and the internet have placed in our laps an endless amount of information and data, on any subject known to man. Now smartphones are the choice for communication. Overall, I think the advances in technology have helped us. Then there are days when I think we have lost our way.
Email, Text Messaging, Social Media, Video Conferencing
My concern now is how we communicate with each other. Back in the old days, if a salesperson needed to contact a prospective buyer, they might send a letter. After the letter arrived, the salesperson would call the prospect and maybe a set up a face to face meeting. The meeting would take place and hopefully the sale was completed. Today that entire process has been changed by technology. There are so many ways to contact someone that do not involve a telephone. Need to contact your boss, email them. Maybe you need to reach out to a friend, you can text a message to them. If you are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (or the many other choices in social media), you can send a message. During the current pandemic, the use of video conferencing has become a popular way to hold a meeting. This got me thinking, does anyone just pick up the phone and call people anymore?
Does anyone just pick up the phone and call people anymore?
Now don’t get me wrong, I use all of the technology tools every day. Generally, they are convenient and simple to use. The smartphones available to us today are basically powerful, hand held computers that we carry around with us anywhere we go. However, I have noticed that everyone seems to have a smartphone, but no one seems to be actually making phone calls. Most smartphone users are surfing the web, sending email, reading email, texting or playing a favorite game. Does anyone still have conversations with people over the telephone?
So here is a suggestion for all of you, young and old, who are addicted to technology (like me) and you use it all day, every day. Email, text or messaging is fine for day-to-day business, checking on a friend or your grocery list. However, before you send that next email, message, tweet or text, think about this. Is the person you are trying to reach available by phone? Better yet, can you visit them at their home or work? Is this a serious message that is better delivered over the phone or in person? Having a real conversation over the phone (or in person) can send a much clearer message than an email or text. I have also concluded that technology is a convenient crutch we use when we have to have a serious or uncomfortable conversation with someone.
Having a real conversation over the phone (or in person) can send a much clearer message than an email or text.
Take my advice, if you have to have a serious chat with someone, never use email or text. Bad news (or good news) is always best delivered face to face or at least on a real phone call. Dial their phone number and talk with them.
My mother lives in Virginia and recently turned 90 years old. She struggles with technology and has dismissed my attempts to get her a cell phone or laptop (she is old school!). Her lifeline and her way to connect with people is through a hard-wired telephone (yes, people still use them). A phone call from me, another family member or a friend means the world to her. Finally, I would say a phone call from you to a friend, family member or business associate would mean a great deal. Think about it; and if you need me, call me.
Written by: Randy Collins, Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce President & CEO
Published in The Mount Airy News Sunday, June 21, 2020