It’s insane. People can message me at least ten different ways on my device.
Sometimes I catch the popup of a new message out of the corner of my eye and then it disappears. I’m left wondering: was it on email, What’s App, Facebook, LinkedIn, Viber, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, a text, iMessage or even very occasionally a voicemail message?
Probably the most unlikely and rarest notification today is an actual phone call. It’s no wonder we now seem to talk less and less about phones and more and more about ‘devices’.
I’m drowning in notifications.
As the wonderful U.S. poet Marie Howe observed, we spend more time staring into our screens than other people’s faces.
And here’s the rub, and the tragic side effect. The more ways there are to connect, the worse the quality of the communication and the more narrow the views I wish to hear.
However fantastic the number of pixels, that content, wherever it is from, is just not human. It lacks all the subtleties, intuitions and soul that exists in human interaction.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the access that technology is giving me: to ideas, people, lives and realities… to the beautiful diversity of the people and environments of our planet.
But in the overwhelming reality of choice overload, I select more and more what I want to hear. I edit out anything uncomfortable, different from what I like to hear, or that I simply do not like.
Here lies the comfortable zone of the silo, zinging as an ever diminishing echo chamber where there is total agreement to my world view, opinion, and reality. I only reach out to ‘like-minded’ people.
And the more we all do this, the more separate we become from one another. When we engage with difference it is at arm’s length, vicariously, as if the realities of others are some kind of animation.
Come to think about it, when did we start talking about communication, engagement, and narratives, rather than simply just talking, listening, writing and telling stories?
So much language we use today has been designed to create distance, or some convoluted sense of objectivity.
Business speak, government speak, all this officialised language is alienating greater and greater numbers of our populations.
We do really only have a few degrees of separation, but we make it seem like there are huge distances in one another’s realities – across ethnicities, ages, genders, abilities, economic status, let alone geographic distances.
The work we are doing with The Weave is all about getting to grips with our differences, owning them, but also believing in our common humanity. The Weave is about how despite our differences, our unique identities, we can come together around our humanity, our love for a fellow human being, however different, however far they are from our comfort zone, or however un-like minded they are.
It is a conversation, not a magic solution, but it is based on the belief we can evolve, we can grow, we can put an increasing dent in the inequality.