We like to think we have advanced communication technology because we’re so smart and creative. We like to believe that its purpose is to bring large groups of people together and facilitate progress. In this way, we like to kid ourselves.
The real reason we have e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and all the others is to embarrass ourselves. Instantly and irreversibly, on a global scale, with the click of a button or the tap of a touch-screen. The purpose of this is likely two-fold:
1) There are life-forms on other planets. They need entertainment. We are it.
2) We need to shed our egos, and nothing achieves that quicker than an unimpressive Twitter picture of your crotch area.
I once worked for the State of Oregon. A guy working for the Department Of Transportation in Eastern Oregon received an email from a friend. It was a racist joke about the President. He tried to send it to another friend. But he hit Send To All and shared it with the entire statewide DOT network.
Racist jokes become far less funny when you no longer have a job.
But email eventually lost its power to embarrass. People figured out the difference between Reply and Reply To All. Something new was needed. So, texting emerged as the new king of bringing embarrassment upon yourself. This can be seen in a photo I call The Reason I Don’t Text Even Though My Friends Do:
I can’t wait to see what we come up with next.