A Driver’s License
A post on social media
Responses to a post on social media
Online Newspapers & News Magazines
Medical Laboratory Testing
What do these all have in common?
During some recent family conversations, the immediacy present in our world today became clear to me. We live in a world different that the one that we grew up in, where live television and a phone call were the most immediate forms of communication. We waited, sometimes over a week or more, to hear if we passed our driver’s test, our professional licensing exams, get our report cards, know if a friend got our letter and chose to respond, develop and look at the photographs we took, write an opinion and send it to the local newspaper editor, or even talk to a friend.
Our world functions on immediacy today. Immediate news available 24/7 whether we want it or not. Immediate reports and reactions to the reports. No time to think. No time to process. Just react. Some post/share/repost/report/write just to obtain that immediate reaction, that kick of knowing you contributed, you said what you thought, you shared.
Personally, I do not think immediacy is a good thing when it is so pervasive. It leaves no time to process what has occurred, no time to think, no time to consider, no time to rationalize, no time to know what really should be done or said. Immediacy breeds reaction.
Most likely, we have all had the experience of writing an email in a fit of anger, disappointment, passion, or excitement only to regret it, once sent. I believe people need time to process events whether they are taking place in their personal lives and community, or in far off places. We are not afforded that time any longer because the immediacy has been shoved upon us. I am not advocating to be globally unaware, just for less immediacy, for less need to react, and for more time to consider, contemplate, and even anticipate.
Along with immediacy and reaction come gratification and reward. Gratification becomes instantaneous, as well as, addicting. And reward, well, that becomes something all together different from what it has been traditionally. Reward might come in the popularity of numbers, responses, and shares one has on social media. Reward might come in the negativity you have been able to foster in others. Reward might come in the lessening of anxiety as you obtain the results of your hard work, test, or application right away.
The immediacy with which we live does not always have to lead to poor outcomes, but often, it does. A break up is just so much easier done by sending a text. A snarky comment can be made anonymously through a variety of digital apps. Bullying is easier and more pervasive because it now can be done with words that reach the reader when they are at their lowest in self-esteem and in the absence of having support.
In these recent conversations, I realized that I sounded like an old bitty, pining away for times past. But, all I really wanted to convey was the importance of time. Time to consider how one really feels, what one really wants, and how best to say it without causing a knee jerk reaction, the type of reaction we have all seemed to become very good at providing and some have become addicted to providing. Yes, I just think we need less immediacy in our world today. It might make us all nicer humans, living in a nicer, more considerate world.