1. You Think Voicemail is Too Slow and Annoying. Today, virtually everyone has voicemail at work or on their cell phone. You feel the vibration and look to see who’s calling you. Admit it, you pick up the phone and start bargaining with yourself to see if you have the time and patience to engage in an actual conversation. They can be a lot of work. “Hi! How are you?” “What Have you been up to?” “Oh really? That’s great…” (eyes rolling as precious time is vaporizing). So instead, you make a command decision and ignore the call. You know what’s coming. Within a minute or so the phone beeps – “1 New Message.” Now, you’re really tired after spending all that energy deciding to ignore the call but you have an additional set of tasks: Dial your voicemail to retrieve the message; enter your password; listen to the long 5-10 second message; write down the caller’s return phone number and then remember to enter the code to delete the voicemail. I’m exhausted – and I’m second guessing if it would have just been easier to answer the call to begin with. Couldn’t they have just texted me instead?!?
2. It’s An Excruciating Eternity to Boot Up the PC (or Mac). So you want to check your email and surf the net to see what’s happening. There’s a few websites you like to check for sports scores and news. You’re thinking there could be an important message in your inbox that has been sitting for a day or more. But here’s the problem – by the time you walk all the way into the room where the computer is, push the power button and wait for the thing to boot up and get connected to the internet – your mind has wandered onto other things and you’re over it. It’s kinda like walking out to your car on a cold winter morning and seeing ice on your windshield. There’s just no way around it – you’re going to have to start the car up, wait for it to warm up and the ice to melt enough for you to scrape it off. Then, and only then, can you can finally get to where you want to go. This is when you ask yourself if it’s worth just leaving the car running all night long so the ice doesn’t build up.
3. You think WiFi is as Slow as Dial-Up. If you’re an internet addict, you’ll remember those early days of Compuserve and AOL. You sit down in front of your 30 pound computer with 512 KB of RAM and a fancy color tube monitor and launch the connection software. After a few minutes of “loading” you click “Dial” and wait to hear dial tone through the modem and the classic “beep beep beep” of computer dialing and the screech of analog data connection. We all took a deep breath and held it – crossing our fingers in hopes of an earth-shattering fast connection speed near 14400. On our worst days of winter storms and static on the lines, the process repeated itself many times just trying to get a steady connection. Today, we’re still impatient. We flip open the laptop and immediately hit refresh on the email program expecting instantaneous emails to flash on the screen. Not so. WiFi needs to get you a new IP address and connect. That 10 seconds of waiting is almost enough to bring back memories of “beep beep beep” and “screech” silence.
4. You Have A Hard Time Telling the Difference Between e-Mail and Snail Mail. Competing with text messaging, Twitter and Facebook status updates, e-mail is becoming the stamped postal letter of the 21st Century. Once upon a time you’d actually pull out a piece of paper, scroll down your thoughts and fold the message into a neatly stamped and addressed envelope. The next step was to get it into the mailbox and wait for a response. Today, the e-mail process isn’t much different. Launch your favorite email program (you pick – Outlook, Gmail, Mail), log in (hoping you remember the right password), click “Compose Mail” or “New Message, stop and think about the right “Subject” and type it in; click to the body of the message and write something important; then hope you have the recipient’s e-mail address in your auto-fill so you can click “send.” That’s half the battle – now you have to wait for a response. Do they check their e-mail once a day? Are they at work where they can’t get their personal e-mail? Should I have sent it to their work e-mail address to get it to them faster? Tick, tick, tick… time passes and your impatience is getting the best of you. “Oh forget it! I can’t wait.” You search for your answer by posting a 140 character Tweet on Twitter or a status update question on Facebook and immediately someone responds with the answer you were looking for. Tick, tick, tick… A day later your e-mail pal responds to your original old-school electronic message. Now you have to politely say, “thanks” so as not to reveal your impatience and avoid making them feel like their response was a waste of time for both of you.
5. You Compete With Your Friends Using Cellular GPS – I was recently taking a class in Los Angeles and a group of us piled into the rental car to head to lunch. I have an iPhone, another guy has a Blackberry and someone else has some sort of flip phone thingy. One person actually had some sort of archaic paper map they were unfolding. Like all macho guys, we put the car into drive and head down the street with no idea what we want to eat or where we’re going. Instantly the phones come out and we’re in a mad dash to be the smartest guy in the car. I won’t tell you which “phone” won, but the first person able to get a signal with their carrier and call out a good place to eat was crowned the all-knowning master of technology. It wasn’t just the name, but a complete GPS map showing us how close it was and turn-by-turn navigation. Just as often there’s a “Fail” and we end up using our old-fashioned eyes to spot a restaurant sign because technology couldn’t satisfy us quickly enough.
Photo courtesy Flickr TarynMarie