Happily behind the times

I am behind the times. I still think email is the way to communicate with people I don’t see in person. I get my news from the internet, but I don’t Twitter, and I rarely log on to facebook. I spend a good deal of time on the computer, both at home and at work, but most of the time I’m reading, not participating in communcation with other people.

I still think a two-hour response time to an email is pretty good (unless an urgent task at work is waiting for the answer). If I want a faster answer, I use a very old-fashioned means of communication. I get up from my desk and walk to the desk of the person I want to talk to (the requests I process come from people in the same building). I have Office Communicator available to me, but I have never once signed on.

According to an article in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal (technology does let me get ahead on some things), “email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet—logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone.” It’s true that my internet is always on, because we have cable internet, but I’m certainly not always on the internet. I do carry a mobile phone, but that’s mostly so my husband can always call me. (It’s also handy to have a calculator/stopwatch/alarm clock in my pocket).

I don’t generally need a quicker response than I can get from email. I have little interest in when friends leave for work or get home or go to bed, or some of the other trivial details that get posted on facebook. It is a handy place to see their vacation photos – especially because I can take a quick look and skip the rest if I’m not really interested. I found a couple classmates from high school on facebook – but I have ignored a few friend requests because I don’t really know the people, even if they go to the same church or went to the same college.

The article points out some of the downsides to the communication streams enable by services such as facebook and twitter. There is too much information, and it’s hard to filter out the important from the unimportant. Because you are posting something that may be read by 500 “friends” who are more acquaintance than real friends, you don’t share things you might with real friends. More of your life is on display for huge numbers of other people to find than you may really intend.

Those are some of the reasons I choose to stay behind the times. I only log on to facebook when I want to play Farkle. I rarely post anything on my wall. (After all, this blog is where I put the thoughts that I want to share with the people who are interested enough to read them.) I read blogs of people/groups whose thoughts interest me – even if blogs are also considered passé now.

I don’t dislike technology. But I dislike noise. And the noise level seems pretty high on these new communications streams.

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