Not communicating is now no more a choice. No excuses. One cannot not communicate. If you don’t respond to emails or calls or messages, you’re actually communicating, clearly, your intent.
Channels of communication have multiplied exponentially over the last decade or so and are becoming harder to manage. E.g. the post I saw yesterday regarding a friends engagement, was it on Facebook? Instagram? Email? Whatsapp? SMS? Skype chat? Zoom chat? Linkedin? Messenger? Snapchat? or other myriad apps available to connect.
An average person tends to use 20-25 apps every month. This broad selection provides a boon as well as a bane. Focus is lost, confusion is rampant, invasive spyware is commonplace, privacy elements are lost along the way and we are enslaved by the constant reminder to check up on these apps, the messages they may have received and the posts that have been put up on them.
The lines have also been blurred in the categories that we use to try to manage our networks. I receive Facebook friend requests from people I work with as clients, as vendors, as formal / official channel partners. If you wanted to connect, please use Linkedin as that is the professional mode. Blurred lines also mean managing these multiple & diverse channels without disturbing sensitive relationships. Its become even harder.
As if these were not serious issues, we add onto the above challenges, by not being able to focus as the Ding sounds go off every minute of everyday. Could be a Facebook post, a Linkedin post, an SMS, a Whatsapp message, an email received, an Insta post and so on. And seeing it becomes a matter of priority, just in case we miss something. It is not bordering on addiction anymore, it is absolute submission.
Human interactions have taken a turn for the worse, given all this digital noise. Our heads are bowed, not in shame, but in absolute capitulation to this phenomenon. One sees people at dinner tables, restaurants, walking the dog, whatever they may be doing, but, they are buried deep in thought and focus, with their devices. One even sees them smile or wince in anger, or viciously stab at their keyboards trying to get their side of the story across. Our lives are more intertwined with the devices we carry on a day-to-day basis than ever before. And it’s a slippery slope. More interesting models are coming out that can do much more, a multitude of new apps that promise to change everything, more access to “Friends” that are collected constantly. I know people with over 3,000 friends on Facebook, over 10,000 contacts on Linkedin and so on. Unrealistic, and, raising expectations that cannot be met.
Our appetites are insatiable. We are voracious readers and devour whatever information is sent our way. We are unable to shy away from a post / a message / a link etc. We hear that sound and our focus on anything we are doing, is broken. We must see what has arrived in our inbox.
If we do not manage / control this, discipline ourselves and focus, we would be left in the digital dust of our future past.
I think the time is ripe to introduce a service similar to Google, to collate and structure all the communication apps, to manage them better. Before things get out of hand. Or is it already too late?
Author: Uzair Hassan Uzair.firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is part of the MEA HR Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and contributes to MEA HR & Learning. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on our website. Please note that the author is not employed by MEA HR and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of MEA HR.