Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Technology Regression

Clearly, months into this and reverse culture shock pain is still an issue.

You see, after living in South Korea for so long, I adjusted to the incredibly high level of technology that was there and adjusted to how people used that technology. In some ways that means my habits have changed. I remember sitting on the Seoul subway watching TV. Here in Manhattan you can't even get a phone signal on the subway. IT.IS.TRAGIC.

I was the teenager who was on the phone forever. Now you're only going to catch me on the phone for a long time if I'm talking to a close friend or something like that. I still have those conversations, but they're much more rare. Who has the time? I'm not going to get on the phone just to give someone a brief message. I'll send you a text or an email, but I'm not calling. I actually think it's less intrusive to send a text or an email. Why make someone pick up the receiver or have to dial into their voicemail? (BTW, Google Voice is awesome...they transcribe voicemails!)

However, I am still very communicative. It's just that you can bet that you're probably going to get a text or an email rather than a phone call.

Anyway, I have an appointment to meet someone tomorrow for a project I might help him with. He emailed me, and I replied. I honestly didn't even think to give him my number. However, he asked for it, so my bad.

His assistant writes me back pretty much stressing that before they'll can lock down a time that they need a number. That's fine. I'm not holding on to it because I don't take phone calls. It just didn't click as I'd just woken up. However, it didn't click for a much deeper reason. It didn't click because talking on the phone for anything isn't my first instinct anymore.

He had my email. For me THAT'S how you find me these days.

I've got a Blackberry and that thing is always on. In fact, I've learned the hard way to always keep it plugged in. I've had nights where I've come in and not taken it out of my purse. I wake up the next morning to a phone completely out of power. I guess there is so much data coming in that the power just drains completely. That little red light is always flashing. (I also heard they're pretty notorious power, it's what I have, so I deal.)

I just thought it odd that for this person having a phone number was so important that before making an appointment he had to have my number.

It led me to think of a recent freelance job I was on. One day the woman who hired me and I were talking. I said I'm not the type to be on the phone when someone can just send me a quick text message or email. That way I don't have to stop what I'm doing for long. I just check it and keep working. She took that as me saying I don't like to talk on the phone. No, I just don't talk on the phone unless it's important. However, for her, she's still very much in the calling people up mode. It works for what she does: sales. Therefore, I get it. But, for me, I see no reason to make a phone call when all I have to say is something I can send to you by text or email.

If this graph is right, and it sure feels right, I'm stuck between "missing other culture" and "adaptation". I'm still much closer to "missing other culture" right now. I'll admit as much.

There is a new age. It's weird being back in a place where they've not caught up, so I've got to recallibrate. I think kids have. I see the shows where they lament the kid who sends text messages all the time or shake their heads over some kid setting a record for sending the quickest text message. I kind of understand those kids more than I want to admit.

Now I have to see how I can get back to using the phone as my primary means of communication.

Do I HAVE to?

Well, I had to adjust when I was abroad, so I'm going to have to readjust. I'm surprised that it's sort of difficult for me to do.

(no more to read, the "read more" is a code glitch that I, clearly, refuse to fix.)

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