Friday, 6 July 2012

Ways of communicating.

Ways of communicating. Well now, where do I start? There is so much technology available nowadays that it boggles the mind. Perhaps not yours dear reader, if you are younger than say, 30, but to someone like me, born in the early 1950's it is simply amazing and to be quite honest, a lot of it is beyond my understanding. There is Twitter, Face-book, mobile 'phones that can connect to the internet, satellite navigation systems for the car, laptop computers and Skype to name just a few.

Please, don't get me wrong, I am always looking at new ways of doing things, but do we really benefit from it all? In my last job, when we were having "refs" (lunch/dinner to you), we would usually prepare and eat our meals and then sit in comfort in a communal tv room. There might be up to ten or so people there, some silently watching the tv, but most of them would have a bit of plastic in their hand, heads bowed, furiously moving their finger over the screen and typing with their thumbs. It seemed from watching them that they were checking e-mails, connected to the internet and viewing various pages. Fair enough I hear you say, but some of them were e-mailing other people in the same room! Sitting not ten feet away! Why?

Now, those of you who know me well might say that I do a lot of talking. I would agree, but usually only when I have something of value to say (some might disagree and I forgive you). But in that room, silence reigned, except for the occasional beep or tune that signified that someone had a new message because the owner had put their piece of plastic down for a brief moment, (presumably because their fingers were aching?). They had all seemed to have lost the art of conversation, of discussion, not just one to one but with a group. Which brings a memory to mind.... do you have a moment dear reader?

I remember when you had to walk along to the telephone box (red, enclosed, some still standing now). In this box, was not just a handset and dial, but a coin slot and two large buttons marked A and yes, you've guessed it, B. Now the coin slot took one penny coins (not the silly little modern ones, but the big old boys that made holes in your pockets). So, you put your money in, dialled the number and if your call was answered you pressed button A and you were connected. However, if it did not get answered, you pressed button B and your money would be returned, landing in a little scoop below the buttons.
Exciting stuff! The thing is, we didn't know anyone that had a telephone in their house at that time so that button B saved us a fortune! Honestly, I deceive you not. My mates and I arranged to meet up somewhere at a certain time by talking to each other face to face, because none of us had a 'phone in our houses at that time, let alone one in our pockets! How times change.

Now, you might think that I seem against this new technology but you would be wrong. To my mind, it has its place, it is also very useful in various ways, but should not be all consuming of our time and attention. More on this at a later date perhaps. Until then keep reading, keep your comments coming and keep well and warm.

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