Fragmented Discourse

Thinking back to how plans were made before cell phones (the regular “dumb” kind), I’m often surprised that today’s technology actually makes the process feel more cumbersome and drawn out.  Plans used to be simple:

  1. Make plan.
  2. Call friend(s) and invite. (Remember the phone tree?)
  3. Discuss and confirm details over phone.
  4. Show up when you’re supposed to.  

One continuous stream of communication from phone to person.  No other options existed.  Occasionally email might have been used to make plans, but most likely things happened over the phone.  And more often than not, people kept plans because there was no way to reach your friend to cancel last minute.

Now it seems that making plans with people often requires multiple:

  • interactions &
  • modes of communication

Here’s one of the processes I go through to make plans:

  1. Make plan.
  2. Text or email friend(s) and invite.
  3. Wait for responses (response time varies from instant to a few days).
  4. Respond via text or email or calling.
  5. Repeat previous two steps a few times.
  6. Confirm via text or email or calling – at this point the mode might change, if it hasn’t already. Sometimes if the friend I’m texting doesn’t have a smartphone, then details may need to be emailed.  
  7. Show up when you’re supposed to.
  8. Wait for texts, emails, tweets or other form of communication from friend about how late s/he is going to be.

The chain of communication from initiation to delivery feels fragmented because it’s happened over a span of time and through multiple modes of communication.  It might seem like my issue is with step 8, but in actuality my complaints are with steps 1-6.  It’s almost like there are too many options available to communicate and that’s what ends up making things complicated.

What’s your preferred mode of communication when making plans with friends?  Cast your vote in this week’s poll.

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