We’re GrossPosted: June 4, 2008
Let’s face it. We don’t really need a phone, a BB, an IM service, a wiki (or the equivalent of an online file sharing repository where we can leave even more verbal vestiges of our daily excess), and several email accounts. We’re polluting our networks and our cable providers with unnecessary clutter and maxing out memory. But worst of all, we’ve become so accustomed to all these materialistic spoils we’ve forgotten how to actually talk to someone.
All this introspective anti-technology ranting spilled from my head recently when my company’s server went down. We were only able to connect to our internal resources (server) inside the office and could only access our external resources (Internet aka contact with the outside world) if we worked outside of our physical office.
My company is wired for us to work with ease externally. It’s one of the perks of working there and this also means we should be able to work from home at any given moment. We have VPN which allows for getting onto the internal network from anywhere and accessing whatever files we might need. This was also down.
I realized after Day 1 of this travesty that I tended to err on the side of external resources. Not having access to internet for one whole work day was enough for me to arrive at the conclusion that human contact meant less to me in the short-term than being able to jump on IM or Twitter my status updates through my Facebook account at any given moment.
Silly, I know. But I got to the point after Day 2 where I was lonely. I didn’t want to be alone and quite honestly I could have accomplished more in the office, without the IM distraction of Gmail chat or AOL IM. And yet, despite my loneliness, here I was trying to avoid unnecessary non-work related distractions on IM. I learned that a”Busy-I’m working” message up on my Gmail account could really be a stand-in for my best friend and despite my hyper over-achiever mindset, being “idle” meant I could get more shit done.
From my days of self-contained confinement, I’ve decided IMing sucks and furthermore, there should be an unwritten law or driving principle behind companies implementing IM as an acceptable form of inter-office communications. What this means is that if you have an urge to start ranting on about the blue nail polish of someone sitting in the adjacent cube, in an ideal world, you would be sent an electronic volt shock of enough amps to make you thing again before disrespecting someone else’s time with your drivel. There would also be a junk filter button similar to spam filers to eliminate all the garbage that comes pouring out people’s minds and spills onto their keyboards. This would also mean that for most people only 2% would end up getting communicated. That’s ok.
Technology is great. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all over Facebook, Friendster, Flixter, Flickr, and just about all the f*-ster sites out there. I use and abuse them just like everyone else. But in creating more applications (and channels) for indirect discourse and ironically to build in more communication time, have we become entirely socially dysfunctional? Have we lost the ability to connect and communicate in way that’s actually effective and doesn’t entirely turn everyone else off?
I think so. In short, I think we’re kinda just plain gross.