Years ago, I went to a military high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. One of things we had to do was write home each week. The letter was graded and sent to our parents. My real communication with my parents happened by telephone. Each Saturday or Sunday, I placed a collect call to home.
When I got to college I wrote fewer letters, but I still wrote. When I got out of college and moved to Nova Scotia, I continued to write letters. They were private, and we were on a party line with a bunch of other people. In 1974 we moved to New Brunswick and after a lot of battling got a private phone line.
That was not the end of letters, but it certainly slowed them down. Then in the eighties came the start of email. By the nineties it was spreading rapidly. Eventually instant messaging and text messaging showed up.
Now email is often done on the small screen of a smart phone. It is actually a bad way to communicate. A cell phone also becomes a lousy way to communicate when you are doing something while you are talking. Talking to someone while you are reading emails on your cellphone is a slap in the face.
Somehow society has decided that quick and fast is better than deliberate and at your leisure. The whole idea of Twitter puts additional pressures on quality communication. I type small messages which are seen by hundreds of people some of whom I know only by their messages. Then there are others who see the message, and I do not even know them.
Facebook is yet another away to get in touch with people who have not been able to build either an email relationship or one based on writing letters. We almost always have a cellphone with us. It is actually easier to call someone on the cellphone than it is post a message on Facebook. Somehow the layers that Facebook adds to the communication process make it easy to type the message to the person you probably are afraid to call.
So are we better communicating small tidbits of information to people we hardly know or was it better to have focused on speaking our hearts and minds to those who mean something to us. How do you communicate today?