Tuesday 27 April 2010

We have engaged in unnatural communications

An addiction is a persistent behavioral pattern marked by physical and/or psychological dependency and tolerance that causes significant disruption and negatively impacts the quality of life of an organism
Been there, done that. Gaming addiction, coding addiction, chatting addiction - not that I needed to seek any help, let alone professional, but there have been days that became nights and morning without seemingly blinking an eye

I see increasing signs of chatting addiction on Twitter. John Mayer Predicts Deadpool For Twitter is the latest news on the subject.
I have spent a few years on a P2P network myself, averaging a few hours a day, and became rather influential even. I have seen many people announce their departure from that very network, and even witnessed a few actually leaving. I was one of the latter

In this life, IRL or on the Web, if you are prepared to listen, even a little bit, there are countless speakers out there. They'll appreciate people that genuinely listen to them - and spread the word about that. It isn't self-fulfilling prophecy, but in the end the ability to listen will make you deaf, because of the multitude of people out there who feel the need for a listening ear - and there simply are not enough of you to fulfill that request

Whatever property makes you attractive, asynchronous communication (wiki failing me here) has nasty side effects. Email is an asynchronous medium, and so is chat: only one participant needs to be present to send. No recipient needs to be online, the message will be delivered and at their disposal the next time they check in. Much like the post and ordinary mail; as long as our mailbox is big enough, we can take a huge holiday or sabbatical

That defies all we're used to. We live for the moment, we're trained to react immediately. When young, in class, if we don't know the answer quickly enough, the teacher will skip or swap us for a smarter person. We're domesticated to live synchronously. Vision, hearing, speaking, it all has to happen right here, right now. Simple matters have to be decided instantaneously, 'tough issues' might wait.
Don't you listen to your parents? They'll teach you the consequences of that right away

But, in chat (i.e. Twitter), we're suffering from the email-effect: the more interesting we get, the more attention we get, the more appreciation we get, the more questions we get. The more tasks we get, the more assignments we get assigned to, and...and...and

It's pretty much like smoking and drinking (taking some most common addictions here): it's tough, even seemingly impossible to the beholder, to restrain these habits. It's much easier to live by a black-or-white rule, because the shades of grey are so extensively large...

We witness "intentions" like John Mayer's. There are also people that get and stay addicted to Twitter instantaneously. Which is sane or more sane? I saw many, many people announce their departure in the P2P network mentioned above. They never left. Or did leave, and came back within days or weeks.

The general rule I learned was this: "If you want to leave, leave. Don't keep saying goodbye to everyone every single day of the week" (Thanks Tuco)
Regardless of the way people (somewhat) gracefully exit from Twitter, the song remains the same: if you announce the end of Twitter, that only shows how badly you want to get out of that same Twitter. Because it's out of your hands

Get used to it, people. It is just another technological opportunity for you to make up your own mind and say "NO"

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