When email first came on the scene, we thought we’d arrived. No more pesky phone calls, just the information you need, when you want to read it!
Then texting arrived to the party, eliminating the need to ever call anyone again (and eliminating the need to move to actually walk into a different room to ask a loved one a question!).
It was glorious.
But after whittling down everyday communication to its bare sans-serif glory, we realized something was missing. While a lot of communication was possible via letters in bubbles, it wasn’t quite the same. Texting didn’t communicate all the stuff that we say without words when we’re talking with someone in person. Smiles, winks, and sarcastic tones just couldn’t be conveyed in written electronic communication.
When the emoticon arrived, it was a work-around in a medium that didn’t have a way to communicate with facial expression.
We’ve since continued to try to make digital communication more like face-to-face conversation. Skype, Snapchat, scribble notes in text messages, all these point to our desire to communicate with humans in a more human way.
Good old-fashioned face-to-face communication is a wonderful and under-estimated technology, which has been refined over the ages and has yet been able to fully replicated by some digital device in your pocket.
Take a moment to talk to someone near you, looking them in the eye, noticing their facial expressions and nuanced tones. There’s nothing quite like it.