What’s your idea of an appropriate amount of time that can pass before you reply to an email? 1 hour? 1 day? A few days?
I was recently reminded of just how accustomed I have become to the ‘new normal’ in communication. A dear friend of mine had emailed me and it took me 3 days before I had the chance to email her back. When I replied to her email, the first thing I did was apologize for the delay in my response, letting her know it had been a very busy week. She emailed back and said there was no need for an apology because she grew up in a time when she would send a letter and receive a response a month later. Yes, a letter! Her comment made me laugh when I first read it but as I thought about it, I realized that I too grew up in a time before the internet and email (I think I was 10 years old when the internet first became popular).
For what seems like a very long time now, I’ve been completely connected/addicted to the internet and emails. So much so that I’ve had the idea of taking a ‘digital day off’ and writing a blog about my experiences but I just can’t bring myself to do it. A whole 24 hours without a phone, internet, computer, tablet, anything that connects me digitally to the outside world! I think I’d crack in an hour! Seriously! I’m so attached to my phone that I actually feel naked if I don’t have it near me or in my pocket. Is there a support group I should be joining or 12 steps I need to be climbing?
It’s quite remarkable when you think about how relatively new all this digital connectivity is to the mainstream population, and how quick most of us have been to adopt it. I’m a self-proclaimed Apple geek (and proud of it) but the iPhone I clutch in my hands was only introduced in 2007. The first iPad didn’t come out until 2010. That’s not that long ago. However, it feels like life wouldn’t be the same without either of those devices today. They have become such an integral part of my daily activities that being without them would feel so foreign to me.
As foreign as it may seem today, it wasn’t that long ago when when we wrote letters to each other instead of emails. When our social networking consisted of picking up the phone and actually speaking to our friends and family. When we printed out the photos we took on our trips, carefully placed them into photo albums and then flipped through the pages with our friends, instead of simply posting them on our Facebook walls.
You get the idea – life did exist before all this digital connectivity, and some might argue that it was a better life. After all, in those days, the friendships we had were nurtured and developed through conversation and human connection. These days we may have hundreds of friends on Facebook but how many of those are actual connections and not just random acquaintances?
Certainly makes you think, or at least it made me think. So a big thank you goes out to my dear friend who reminded me that true friendships and connections transcend digital connectivity.