I am a communications specialist and I can no longer communicate. The world has passed me by and I am now completely befuddled on how best to interact with anyone.
Email is out. Texting no longer works. Traditional phone calls are out. Face to face is history. Pagers are done. Smoke signals are only mildly effective. Facebook Messenger seems to be the only way to call or text message about one-third of the people I know.
I got a phone call over Facebook Messenger recently and it was choppy, latent and surreal. The new thing.
I try to keep up but I cannot find half the people I want to communicate with any more. Totally ignoring my text, email or phone call is the new norm. No use getting upset because I have to assume that they do that to almost everyone. The age of connectivity is a hoax!
An Internet search of “How to get people to return your text,” reveals a Buzzfeed article, “17 Perfect Responses For When Someone Doesn’t Text You Back,” which gives examples of sarcastic rejoinders and bitter, petty responses. One of the better, bitter responses: “Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship.”
What is really strange is that most of us are lost in our devices, staring, stabbing and scrolling. We’re looking for love, looking for likes and looking for life while ignoring our own friends, associates and families.
What are people looking at? Certainly not my messages, texts or pleas for help. It must be something important, though because people do it at dinner, at concerts and piano recitals, sporting events, political rallies, in houses of worship, walking down the street, driving a semi, on dates and in movie theaters.
Soccer moms are glued. Kids are stuck. Octogenarians are desperately rifling ancient musty purses to see who is calling, texting or liking them before the vibrating, ringing and pinging stops. People panic when the pinging and ringing are beyond reach. How many of us have compromised our safety by frantically reaching for a buried smart, smart phone?
Maybe people are more discriminating about who they want to communicate with but when you get ignored by someone on every platform it’s easy to think that their priorities in life don’t include you (anymore).
You could be inviting a friend to dinner. If they see it and can’t even bother to respond are they really your friend?
When it comes to email, there are lots of online experts willing to advise us on how to craft a message that will be more likely to get a response. Stuff like, keep it simple, ask for a response, get straight to the point, etc. These are all good and I have tried them all. Besides, I’m not making a sales inquiry, I’m trying to contact a friend to make weekend plans. Crickets!
Professionally, it’s just as bad. Waiting to hear back from the guy working on your outboard? Not going to happen. Want to contact someone from the local government? Nope. Got a work-related issue that needs attention? You are on your own. Have a question about making a purchase. You are SOL!
And phone calls? Never going to happen. There are zillions of professional tips for getting sales calls returned but nothing helpful when it comes to getting your friends and family to call you back.
So bottom line: I give up. I have to assume that you don’t want to hear from me so you won’t. You know where to find me mom, but I won’t hold my breath.
Steve Skinner is ready to try two cans and a string. Reach him at email@example.com.