Blog No. 374
Communicating with people is a really complicated thing in 2020. I suppose it has been for some time and that before things like telephones or radios, it was much more complicated. Maybe I’m combining difficult and complicated. Now, it’s complicated, then, it was difficult. What were the ways to keep a conservation going? In person, letters, passing on a message? I’m sure there was some form of semaphore or flower arranging that had their own deep meanings and methods, but I don’t know much about that, and I’m talking about keeping in contact with people as you drift apart.
I’ve made a number of friends over the years that range from super interesting and great person who I would gravitate towards no matter the situation, to, we’re in the same place at the same time on the regular and you’re not that terrible. It’s easy to abandon the not so terrible people, but it’s also difficult to stay connected with the good people. Part of that is me, but I know that I’m not alone. What makes it difficult (beyond schedules, distance, and time) is that there are a ton of methods for staying in contact with people. Text, email, messenger, skype, and if you’re a sociopath, phone calls. I sometimes have three conversations going with people involving three different messaging methods. Some of those people, I also see on a regular basis. It can be a mess.
Then there are the people who have reached out (or I did) and now we’re having a very slow conversation on one of those methods. We seem to not be available at the same times, so even though the service is ostensibly instant, the conversation turns into its own hybrid of email, chat, and texts. I would just call it an email on a different client, but the back and forth is short and usually only about one thing at a time. There are other people with whom I have multiple conversations going on at once using all those methods, plus in person. Amazingly, things still fall through the cracks. It almost becomes more difficult to keep track of it all. I try to keep certain types of conversations to certain platforms, but if other people (who I haven’t proselytized to the method in the first place) didn’t have the same idea and don’t stick to my made-up parameters message me something that I would have preferred as an email, there isn’t much I can do.
I could rally against the social convention, trying to force my beliefs on other people, but often times I’m asking those people for something (like being a guest at their event or for free edits). It’s easier to just have my personal method and use it when I have the opportunity of being the instigator of the conversation and hope that they aren’t the type of person who just doesn’t check their email. I’m a fairly rigid person. I like organization. I like things to be done in a certain way (and for that way to be unyielding in the face of those flexible people). I get that I can’t force my ideals on people, but it does make things complicated sometimes. Even when it’s a simple conversation in an era where we have dozens (or more) methods each with their own positives and negatives. I just wish that if I started an email chain that it wouldn’t migrate to text. I have a hard enough time keeping track.