There is nothing quite like that feeling of exhilaration you get after you order something off of amazon (or any site really), knowing that in just a matter of days that item will be waiting for you at your doorstep.
Or how about that feeling you get when you type a text to a friend (because you need advice, opinions, or just a friendly conversation), and have your phone buzz back a response just moments later?
Oh, oh. Or how about when you post a picture of your brand new dress on facebook and instantly get 5 likes and a couple “lookin’ good”s? (Ok, probably more like “hawt” nowadays).
Technology is a pretty incredible source of instant gratification. I have to say, I’ve personally enjoyed all three forms (and many more) of technological ego-boosters. I have also, however, seen and experienced the opposite extreme–we can call these ego-crushers. It’s what happens when you reach out to technology and no one responds. At least when you pick up the phone and call someone to no response you can reassure yourself knowing that they are surely just “too busy” to drop everything and answer. The general feeling about texts, however, is that their main benefit is ease of use via minimal required effort. So when someone fails to respond to your text, it’s this virtual slap in the face. what, you couldn’t spare 10 seconds of your life to message me back? And oh boy, don’t get me started on the people that allow you to see read receipts of messages. oh so you READ my text but don’t WANT to respond??
So I guess my question for today is if the ego-boosting is worth the chance of ego-crushing? Is relying on the instantaneous technology medium and increasing our expectations of response time actually helping us? I think the obvious answer might be no, but I think the best answer is always “all things in moderation.” On the one hand, when I need a friend, taxi, book or food, I sure do love having instant access. On the other hand, if I can’t immediately respond in a well-thought out manner to a text or email, I don’t like the implications my slow response time is giving people waiting on the other end.
I think we all need to take a little step backward in trusting technology as an excuse for instant gratification, and take a step forward in trusting that people are doing the best they can with what they have at the time. So if I don’t text (or email) you back immediately, don’t assume I hate you, ignored you, or was beamed up by aliens. Also, 6 additional texts or emails probably won’t speed up the process of me responding. It will, in fact, delay it further as I will feel the need to wait until I have time to go back through EVERY text/email/etc. Likewise, when you are less than prompt, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and understand you might actually be busy with, oh I don’t know, life. Besides, if I really need you urgently I could be old fashion and actually, gasp, dial your number. I know, I know. Crazy talk.
So let’s expect a little less, trust a little more, and for goodness sake, just get rid of the read receipts (really, what’s the point of them anyway??).