Surprising, but sometimes it’s technology that makes it difficult for us to stay connected

Rapidly changing technology is making it difficult to stay in touch with friends, laments an old-timer.

AD: Hi, why the long face?

BC: Never thought keeping in touch with friends could be such a problem.

AD: Well, technology helps those who help themselves, but in your case.

BC: I can’t help it — things are changing so rapidly that...

AD: For years, man has been toying with the need for speed. And now that it has happened, your problem is that it's all going too fast.

BC: Not too long back, I was happy to be introduced to email.

AD: Not too long back? That must have been around 15-16 years ago!

BC: Look, you must realise what a challenge it was for me to make the transition from writing letters to typing mails. And just when I was getting comfortable with email, my friends introduced me to this abomination called a ‘chat room’ where we could enter and chat as a group.

AD: I’ve read about Yahoo! Chat Rooms being pretty popular back then.

BC: I found them too annoying because we would continuously be interrupted by strangers — some of them would be downright abusive and we would have to leave the chat room.

AD: Yes, but...

BC: That was not the only problem — we were all on dial-ups. Just as everyone would assemble in a chat room, one or more of us would lose our connection — we would then have to dial up again, log in and find our friends online. I always needed help with that...

AD: I know, dial-ups were quite fickle, weren't they?

BC: Then came messenger and my friends insisted that I should download a messenger...

AD: Which one did you use?

BC: Mostly Yahoo! Messenger and occasionally MSN. But when Google Talk came along, my entire batch moved to it.

AD: It's funny trying to visualise a set of senior citizens chasing one messenger after another and trying to stay in touch.

BC: You make it sound like dogs chasing postmen. The real issue here was that unlike email, there’s no compatibility between various service providers. If your friends shift to something new, you are forced to follow suit.

AD: That problem still exists — it’s the same even with social networking sites…

BC: The messenger challenge improved with web cams and microphones coming into the scene — suddenly we didn't have to type. Everything was visual and aural. I really enjoyed that...

AD: And?

BC: Facebook happened… And all my friends moved to it. I tried telling them that it was for kids and that we were too old to be seen there, but none of them would listen.

AD: So that was how you became a Facebook user.

BC: I didn't have a choice — it was the only place where I could find my friends.

AD: So what's the problem now?

BC: Ever since mobiles became internet-enabled, they've all switched to WhatsApp and...

AD: I’m waiting…

BC: Now, my mobile keeps hanging ever since I activated a data pack.

AD: Look, if you have a problem with everything, you'll find it difficult to keep pace with technology.

BC: I know. I'm most tempted to turn around and go back to the good old days.

AD: Too late — they've even phased out telegrams, so you're stuck.

BC: It’s annoying — the harder I try to keep in touch with my friends, the more isolated technology is making me feel.

AD: So what’re you going to do about it?

BC: I’m trying to get the group together at Bessy.

AD: Is that a new social networking site? Funny how I haven’t heard of it and you have… Did you Google it and…

BC: Good heavens, I was referring to the beach in my neighbourhood. And you’re right in a way — long before the Internet came into our lives, Bessy used to be the quintessential ‘site’ for social networking amongst the younger generation.

sureshl.india@gmail.com

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