Communication 102

“Focus, Speed, I am Speed”

In communication history, the first piece of technology – the telephone – was the first revolution. Now, people didn’t need to worry about how far their near and dear ones where, as long as they had a telephone installed at their home or offices. It reduced distances to nothing, and the latency was reduced to negligible. Along came mobile phones, and one didn’t need to even reach out to a phone to talk. It was always in one’s pocket. The dependencies were reduced to nothing and the mode enabled communications truly anytime, anywhere.

However, what it also changed was the whole nature of long distance communication. In many ways, long distance communication had a purpose attached to it during the good old days. One would reach out to the far ones, only if they ‘needed’ to. There was a sense of importance – “somebody is trying to reach me from so far away, it surely must be important.“

But with the ‘anytime, anywhere’, one could reach out to other whenever he/she ‘wanted’ to, not just whenever he/she ‘needed’ to. The cell phone could be rung any time, any where – important board meetings, movie theatres and where not. One just had to pick the phone. One couldn’t just ignore it, no matter where one was, or what one was up to at that time. Bring in telecallers and spam marketers to the mix, and one would slowly realize why this boon could also be the bane.

So, what is really happening here?

The communication could be theorized on a coordinate axis like below. The important and urgent axes are always competing with each other and the balance has seldom been there in history. The good old days had important on top, and the mobile phones came up with urgent. The phone just wouldn’t stop ringing until one picked it up.

The caller IDs would be of little help, as they could tell you who is calling. But is it an urgent call, which is worth stopping whatever one was doing?

The speed of the communication increased to the speed of light, but the focus was lost.

Time to bring balance between ‘want’ and ‘need’. Time to bring the balance between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’. Time to bring focus.

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