Thursday, August 20, 2009

20 August, 2009, Immediacy of Communication

This afternoon, like the rest of my days here in Berllin, I was on yahoo! messenger, chatting up my love in Malawi.

For a moment, I was amazed with this immediacy of communication. I could see that she is writing but I could still feel a delay: Is she still writing? Why not just send what she has written so that I read?

Then I asked myself: Where has patience gone? Twenty years ago and before that, I would not have been sitting on a desk, punching keys on a laptop, talking with anyone in Malawi. The means of communication then was mail, a letter through the post office.

It would take a month for a letter to leave Germany and reach Malawi. For someone like me, staying a month, I would not have dared write a letter maybe. I would have known I will be home by the time it gets there.

The situation is different today. We can't imagine life without internet. Yet there was no internet a generation ago. This technology has become so much part of life that we can't imagine life without internet.

As we enjoy this technology that has brought immediacy of communication, we must not forget the basics of communication, even language skills.

Even more importantly, when I will be writing the story of my life, shall I get these yahoo! messenger chats to include in a biography? Do we still have the joys that were brought by letters written by hand?

Those of us who experienced free hand letters, in own handwriting, and are now in the internet age, how do w e feel about the letters through the post office?

How much will internet keep for me? Not just in terms of storage and archiving but in terms of how much goes into it as opposed to a letter? We put so much in a friendly letter, that we can't write while chatting up each other on yahoo! messenger.

Technology is good, but for a writer like me, it is also superficial, a stealth killer of creativity. Yet I am benefiting from it, anyway, because I will be on yahoo! messenger again tomorrow.

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