the revolution in modern communications

I had a minor emergency the other day. It could have been a major emergency but (I am going to go ahead and ruin the ending here) things worked out when it was all said and done. Before I give up any more of the story, let’s get right to it.

I had to make a trip into the office this weekend and, dutifully, I went, fully expecting that it would not be a long trip. It wasn’t. Or at least it wasn’t until I walked out of the office to grab a soda and snack at the deli down the street and realized, as the office door shut behind me, that my keys (including office key card) and cell phone were upstairs.

And, this being the weekend, I would have to wait until someone else came by before I could retrieve them.

Because of the revolution in modern communications, I had no option but to sit and wait and hope that the rain would hold off until some other poor sap turned up to put in a lonely weekend shift behind a desk…my cell phone, with all of its numbers stored safely inside (numbers stored so safely behind autodial and my contacts list that I know maybe three actual phone numbers anymore…and one of those numbers is 911) was beyond reach.

So I couldn’t call someone.

My cell phone, with its oh so necessary internet connectivity, was sitting at my desk next to my keys so I couldn’t e-mail or IM or leave a Facebook message or make a desperate plea over Twitter or in any way contact someone digitally.

Modern technology had brought instant communication to my fingertips and I had left the best that modern communication offers sitting on my desk.

With my keys.

I was distraught and then handled this emergency with the aplomb and clear thinking that characterize me in desperate situations. I assed my situation and realized that I was starving first and locked out second, walked down to the deli to get a sandwich and soda and then walked back to the office and waited it out. Eventually I was let in the office by the cute kid of one of the cleaning crew.

The day was saved.

And I, so I was never without the ability to contact people again, promptly velcroed my phone to my hand. It is going to be awkward to do certain things with such an arrangement and I definitely type slower, but after the terror of being rendered fully incommunicado by such a simple error I vowed simply “never again.”

What does this mean for advertisers? I don’t know. For that sort of analysis, you’re better off reading Alan Wolk take on the divergence of calling and data as represented by people who have two phones, one for each of those uses (I am one of those people, driven mainly by my work-provided phone that I use mostly for e-mail and my “home use phone” that I actually take calls one…in the sad situation mentioned above I had the bad luck to leave both of them at my desk. Go figure).

While you read, remember: divergence is the continual pattern of technology in the modern era.

There is a cult of convergence, but people tend to order their technology as they order their lives. And they don’t want one-size-fits all devices for their lives. They want specialization.


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