“I thought the world had begun to spin faster when the first fax machine was brought in, but with e-mails, I’m not sure if I can keep up any more!”
– So said a woman in her middle-age at an internship I took up one summer in my college years. I wonder how she is doing today, many many years later, with all the social media apps available out there.
With advancements in communication technology, it has become possible for us to send out our words faster and farther to an unlimited number of individuals, at little or no cost, whenever and wherever we want. It has made our lives much more active and exciting, and ever fuller… we have entered an era in which even a timid person like me will start scribbling thoughts on a blog!
But are things all that rosy having no restriction in time or space in our communication? The aforementioned woman was weary when facsimiles first became the main tool of communication, because it increased the number of messages that can be exchanged in a given period of time, giving more importance to quantity than quality. She said people became less concerned about accuracy and completeness, and worried that the rate of errors will increase with the introduction of e-mails.
In a way, maybe she was right to have feared the spread of better communication tools.
Maybe we take less time to review whether the words we put out are accurate and complete.
Maybe we take less time to find out whether they are true or can be backed up by evidence.
Maybe we even take less time to check whether our own thoughts and feelings are correct, socially and morally.
Maybe it has become so easy to propagate our words, we easily forget how important it is to carefully think over the words we choose to put out.
Maybe we have even forgotten that we must choose words at all times, and come to believe they can just as easily be retracted, by simply deleting them from our scribbles.
But we must always remember that some words stay in our memories long after they are deleted on screen. They will forever determine your quality as a person, and no matter how much quantity of words you put out to improve your image, the one error you made in no time will haunt you possibly for a lifetime.
When life was much slower, one wrong choice of words could end up being nothing more than a speeding ticket, corrected before it spread too far. But today, even a tiny slip of the tongue can be a fatal accident, becoming viral in an instant.
Maybe because we live in much faster lanes today, we must take more precaution not to slip up. Maybe in order to keep up, we must dare to take a few moments to reflect on the possibility that the life in the fast lane is not all that rosy.