Those hand-written notes, they were beautiful. You could read them, cherish them, and reply at leisure. The wait for a reply came with some bitter-sweet pain. In this age of Instant Messaging, where everyone is accessible to everyone, wherever they are, there are way too many options to get in touch. Everything is fast paced and conversations are aplenty. But there is one form of communication that fascinates me as I see it evolve, especially when I see it between people who wouldn’t be in touch otherwise.
It’s fascinating how asynchronicity of communication has taken shape in this digital age; from the days of pen-and-paper letters through snail mail. Of course, e-mail is one form and it’s application in e-learning is a subject worth its own post. Also, the convenience, flexibility, ease-of-use because of its ubiquity are unparalleled in a professional environment.
What amazes me is its use in social interactions. Of course, it comes in very handy in long distance relationships, be it your sister or your boyfriend in a time zone five hours away. Asynchronous audio messaging couldn’t get any handier than the way it is on WhatsApp. Interestingly, I have seen many a fight averted because they didn’t happen over phone but over e-mail. The angry e-mail sat in the outbox for a couple of days and was deleted before being sent out.
But it’s the people you wouldn’t be in touch with otherwise, that surprise you with great conversations. Lo and behold you have formed a new friend/relationship. These are people you wouldn’t have called over the phone or written letters to, but without inhibitions you can leave them a message on Facebook for them to check when they log in. No urgency, no emergency.
I have experienced this first hand and have seen many other people have intense, engaging conversations over days — much like a scrabble or chess game on the internet. It is one of those ‘no strings attached’ things, that is exactly what is — a welcome distraction. What’s more you can have as many relationships as these as you like! Each one a different flavor.
Most importantly, it is that thing you can look forward to every morning. That spark to take on the day ahead. That smile you can draw energy from.