When discussing the influence of internet on culture, people often use phrases like ‘our always-on world’ or ‘instant [something]’, or general terminology suggesting that the main reason internet use is altering the way people communicate is because of speed, like, somehow creating a generation of people who seem unable to wait for information due to the fact they have become habituated to getting it immediately.
But perhaps the most useful and exciting consequence of the rise of connected, text-based communication is the fact that it has allowed people to at last eradicate the horrible and terrifying prospect of ‘talking on the phone to people’. Perhaps ironically, it’s only since internet communication surged in prevalence, rapidly becoming for many the ‘preferred’ medium of interaction, that it’s become evident why talking on the phone sucks so much.
Contradicting popular assumption that the internet is compelling because of its immediacy, talking on the phone sucks because it forces immediacy. On the internet one is assumed to be multitasking or navigating web pages; no one expects an instantaneous response to an email or IM [unless they are one of those really annoying people who will ‘follow up’ with you repeatedly despite being aware that you are a busy individual and whatever they want to email you about is not particularly important nor does it particularly necessitate a reply].