You get the idea.
I get a bunch of emails everyday from people I don't know. It is not actually spam. I signed up for most of it. I get emails from everything from Twitter to Amazon. I belong to a number of movie production groups such as Warner Brothers and Universal, all because I bought a DVD with digital copy. I bought a tablet which attached me to Flixster and the world of Angry Birds. I have a Google account because it's required for my smart phone and my blog. I get emails for my favorite games.
I am connected. I remember the first chat I ever had. I called a friend via modem on my Apple IIe and we chatted by typing. It would have been much faster if I had just picked up the phone and talked to him, which we did when we were having trouble making the programming work. I could of course just walked the three or four blocks to his house. The uniqueness of watching it come up on my green screen was fascinating, even though it tied up my only phone line. When I first went on the internet, we had a second phone line so I could go on line and we would still have a phone.
We used our first cell phone, roughly the size of a brick, only for emergency calls. It was just too expensive to use it otherwise. No smart phones then. A cell phone was a phone. No texting...yet another form of email. We were not as connected...but we talked to each other more on the phone, just not as often. We had maybe a bit more face time but not really much more.
I had the evil AOL on dial up. I am not sure why AOL was evil, but many geeks I knew seemed to think that it was. I had five email addresses, my personal one, one for my wife, one for each of our two children and one for a game I played. Then we moved from dial up to high speed and then from high speed to cable. I have basically the same emails, except the kids are gone and for a while I had one that was my school/teaching address, and I've added one for my smart phone. I used IM for about a week and then turned it off. I really hated pop ups. I am still not big on instant chat.
So what has email done for us (Facebook, Twitter, texting, and chat really are a form of live email)? They have made us less considerate when we write. We don't actually intend to be less accurate and perhaps not as reactive when we write our emails, texts, chats, tweets, status's. Because all these are so immediate, we think we need to be immediate in our response and it is expected to be by the sender. It has allowed us to be more connected in the sense we can email, text, etc. immediately, but it has also disconnected us because we can hide in our written words and abbreviations. It is safe and impersonal. There is no voice at the end of an email. There is no person there...well there is...but it's digital and no voice to hear the laugh or pain in. And if we do say something cruel, we can always add =) or another emoticon. Maybe Skype will solve this issue, but I cannot imagine having a half dozen faces staring at me from the screen, especially in high definition.
Immediate email has made us connected and less personal. So I guess, without it, we would just have to be insulting in person.,,or maybe, just maybe, more considerate. Never have so many been involved in a social medium where they operate so alone. Kinda like blogging...