Technology…making communication more remote

By Paul Field – CEO @ Improved Apps


telegraph wires

Two recent reports highlight the significant ways that mobile phones have changed the way we deal with each other.

The first, from the BBC focuses on the increasing addiction we have for our mobile phones.

If you have children with mobiles, you will be familiar with the impossibility of getting them to put down their phones even at meal times. When children and millennials get together they rarely seem to raise their eyes from their devices, making you wonder why they bothered to meet up in the first place.

The second report, from The Telegraph, notes that, while mobile phones may be indispensable to us as a means of relating to our fellows, this is not about vocal communication . In fact , “Almost one in three respondents in a major survey claimed they had not made any standard voice calls on their handsets in the last week.”

Seems odd – until perhaps you put it in the context of what could be seen as a long history of technology making communications increasingly remote, impersonal and less interactive?

Telephones revolutionised communications. They did not replace the need to communicate but made it possible for us to do it without actually being in front of our correspondent. So much easier to say things if you don’t have to look someone in the eye.

Emails. Fantastic! – no need to talk to someone in person; Emails made it possible to say what you wanted to as many people as you liked without actually meeting any of them. Emails are not even interactive as you essentially take turns to say what you want.

Texts made it possible to not only communicate remotely without seeing or talking to anyone directly, but now to do so briefly and without any need for the ‘nicities’ of human interaction.

Bring on social – Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook etc. Now you don’t really need to communicate at all except in a really superficial way. Tell everybody what you want to be known and rely on them to find that information and digest it. All of the illusions of human relations without actually communicating specifically to anyone at all!

Where next? A stream of consciousness that is largely uninteresting and irrelevant, that instead of talking to any specific person, would require that recipients subscribe to it and filter out what they can. Oh, hang on a second – that’s Twitter isn’t it…


Paul Field – CEO @ Improved Apps