Personal Communications Technology

A rant at The Independent in response to this article:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/philip-hensher/philip-hensher-all-alone-even-when-were-together-2197800.html

Sirs,

Philip Hensher misses several points in his missive against personal communication technology.

Firstly, he assumes that the protective shield that these devices provide is a bad thing. If random people in the street were remotely interesting, he might have a point. However, in my experience they are utterly boring and are to be avoided. The prospect of my life being so empty that I have to engage them is terrifying.

Secondly, he assumes this shield is a new idea – it isn’t. Once, if you wanted to talk to someone you had to meet them face to face. Then the telephone was invented. Once, if you wanted to see a film you had to endure the shared experience of the cinema. Then they started putting them on television. The ability to enjoy life without unwanted proximity to others has been developing for decades, and long may it continue.

Thirdly, he assumes Grindr is just a pick-up tool for gay guys. It isn’t. It’s a way of filtering out those gremlins you don’t fancy and wouldn’t say hello to in a hundred years. This is a good thing, unless you’re ugly or have no personality, of course – then you’re filtered.

Lastly, although there are many “serial friend collectors” on Facebook, using it to fill some yawning chasm in their lives, for real people (ie those with only a couple of hundred people in their friends list) it is an invaluable way of remaining sociable and up-to-date with real friends and family on a far more frequent basis than a busy life permits. Again, a good thing.

I prefer to think of the development of personal communications technology as an evolutionary step – taking humanity away from the simian requirement for social living and making it optional.

Regards,

Paul Harper

It got published on the 3rd Feb :