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The Perils of the Ease of Clicking “SEND”

Submitted by Zoe Turner on March 15, 2010 – 8:47 pmComments

Today we have countless means to communicate with the world at large, with individuals near and dear and (of course) the not-so-near-and-dear.

We “converse”  leaving voice messages, text messages, Blackberry messenger texts, etc. There’s also Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and countless other “social-networks” to choose from. It seems like everyday there’s a new tool or “app” with which we can send our thoughts out into the world.

What do all of these means of communication have in common?

- The all-important, potentially life (or relationship) changing, and sometimes unnerving, time-warping moment before you click “send”.

You know that period of time when your mind races to find reasons why you “must” or “shouldn’t” say what you’re “about” to say? Sometimes you feel it in your stomach, your breathing races, your mouth goes dry…you might even feel like you’re losing your sight.

Yeah, that one.

It’s not like a normal conversation, where you’re not aware of what the next word or statement might be, and can adjust and react, and weigh the reactions and consequences of each piece of new information, in real “face-time”.

You can compose very clearly, a huge number of thoughts, either complimentary or venomous, which can be sent en-masse. This huge amount of love or abuse, gets shot at a moment, a giga-second, by pressing a button, we’re sometimes not even looking at, the moment we do it.

It’s almost as though, our finger did it, and not us.

We can even tell ourselves, “I didn’t just insult this person to the core of their being or expose my undying love till the end of time, all I did was click a darn button.”

I have found it’s best, to let these emails or texts, which carry a huge positive or negative load, to sit in the “drafts folder” for at least one cycle of sleep.

Or risk waking up to a hangover, not caused by alcohol, but by one too many texts or emails.

It used to be that talking on the telephone was a huge step down in intimacy or directness. Funny now, compared to a text or an email, an actual phone conversation, is a huge step up in intimacy.

It’s not that texts and emails are without there merits. There’s something to be said for being able to calmly compose a series of thoughts and sentiments, deliver them, and know that the receiver will absorb them in silence, without thinking, at least for a time, of how they will respond.

Perhaps if we extended that type of courtesy to each other, when speaking in person, we might be better off. Yet that spontaneity and ability to interact and retort quickly, is part of the beauty of conversing in person.

One is not better than the other.

What’s been important for me to remember, is that with the great power of distilling huge amounts of thoughts and information, comes the equally great responsibility of thinking twice, sometimes thrice,  (probably if you’re wise, four or five times) before you hit that tiny, beautiful, magical, terrific button… “SEND”.

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