Last night, I was instant messaging a friend on my laptop. I kept hearing noises as we communicated by IMing. There were scratchy sounds and muffled sounds. Then, implausibly, I thought I heard a dog. Coming from my computer. "Pat", I typed, "Say something." And I hear, clear as a bell, "Testing 1, 2, 3" come from my computer. Somehow, she had inadvertently called my computer and was not aware of it. I teased her that there was no telling what people had heard over their computers when she was online.
My computer has the microphone icon, but nothing to plug into it (yet! but I bet Radio Shack does...) so our IMing continued with Pat talking and me typing my answers and questions. We are nothing if not versatile. And high tech. In our own minds.
I mentioned that our children don't communicate like this. Then I remembered that our children have a life and probably don't IM on Saturday nights while watching "Trading Spaces" (a show which is waaaaayyyyyy past its prime and needs to be put out of its misery. I digress.)
Anyhoo, I think we made some big steps for parentkind that night. New options of communication all over the place. As my sister would joke, "Now ain't you something?"
But is this progress in communication? I have three teacher friends that I try to get with for coffee weekly after school. We try to set the time online and have not been successful in three weeks. Interestingly, no one picks up the phone. We just keep bumping around online.
I also have four high school friends I meet in the Dallas area each year. (Go, class of '76!) We have also tried to plan this year's reunion online through IMing and email. It is taking a long, long, long time. Only one of us, frustrated by the out-of-sync messaging picked up the phone and actually called. What an innovation!
Today, a friend in church mentioned that she likes reading the blog, but misses the emailing.
I'm perfecting my theory of the Communication Taxonomy now: Blog, IM, Email, Snail Mail, Calling, Weekends in Dallas in person, Coffee in person. Face to face in person.
And then, someone mentioned webcams.
Drat. Need to tweak the continuum again.
Innovation is not always progress.
Because friends are best seen. Not accidentally heard. Not as words flashing up on a screen. But actually seen. Face to face. Like in Dallas. The second weekend of October.