One of the problems with todays advances in technology is that rules have been broken so that it’s very hard to know how available to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that I can call / email / text / WhatsApp my family and friends at the drop of a hat, or sign into Skype and talk with anyone in the world within seconds. But while I love being able to communicate instantaneously, there are several drawbacks to always being ‘reachable’.
One negative of instantaneous communication channels is the ability to verbalise thoughts and opinions with a huge amount of people within seconds. You only have to turn to Twitter to see huge bust ups happening all the time. And celebrities are as bad as any of us. Piers Morgan is notorious for his Twars (Twitter wars), such as his four-hour long spat with Rio Ferdinand, where the exchange got very heated:
Ferdinand: “tues could be a bad day as Embarrassing Bodies are filming and @piersmorgan starring in episode about moobs.”
Morgan: “If I wanted a lesson on physical appearance I’d go to @evalongoria not Shrek’s ugly brother”.
Morgan: “I”m making you look dumber than Rooney, didn’t think was possible.”
Ferdinand: “If I wanted a grammar lesson I’d have gone to @stephenfry not a SACKED editor!!”
Amusing though these tiffs are for Twitter follows and I’m sure it adds to the celeb’s Twitter following, its not exactly dignified behaviour. Don’t air your dirty laundry and all that.
Mobile phones mean we are even more susceptible to saying things we’ll regret. I got my first mobile phone under the pretence that I was to use it only for emergencies. Not only do I now spend hours a month talking absolute waffle to anyone who’ll pick up the phone to me, I also use it to send and receive emails, picture messages, and do everything else that my iPhone allows me to do. And although I’m very grateful for my googlemaps etc, I’m sure half of my instant communication could wait until a face to face meeting, or would be much better expressed if I’d actually spent some time thinking about what I was saying.
There is of course, also the danger of sending a message whilst not in the right frame of mind. I am talking mainly about drunken texting or messaging. I think Webroot was on to a winner when it invented the app that doesn’t let you post on your social media pages late at night without passing a sobriety test first. With the ‘Social Media Sobriety Test’, you specify a window of time where you don’t think you’d be on the internet while sober, say between 2 and 4a.m., and anytime you try to access the internet during that timeframe, you’ll have to prove your sobriety. To your computer, using your mouse.
So it doesn’t all have to leave you rosy cheeked and wondering who you need to apologise to. And one of the many good things about on-demand methods of communication such as Present.me is that you have time to reflect about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. A bit like writing a letter. So you save yourself the embarrassment of having to retract a comment in a live meeting, or wake up the next morning and read through text messages you sent the night before in horror. Furthermore, by spending time on your presentme, the final product has the capacity to be a fantastic reflection of your character. You are forced to compose yourself, and if you don’t like what you see, you can erase it and do it again. And when you are happy, you can send it to as many of as few people as you like. So instead of bashing out an email to work colleagues at 4 in the morning, why not put aside an hour or two in the day, take a bit of time to think about what you want to say, and create a presentme. Perish the thought; it might even end up being something that your online persona can be proud of!