Thinking Out Loud

January 31, 2019

Generic Responses

Filed under: Christianity, technology — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:00 am

No matter how independent, self-sufficient, or even self-employed you are, you now have a boss. In other words, you’ve probably discovered your phone telling you what to do.

I will get an email from someone and the phone will chime in and offer some quick responses:

  • Thanks.
  • Got it.
  • Will do.

May the day never come when I use this option.

It’s so incredibly impersonal, and so obviously machine-generated.

Or worse, there’s Facebook, which on our business page feels the need to inform me that I “haven’t responded” to something which clearly needs no reply, and if I don’t it will affect our “response rating.” If we know the customer well, I will tell them why I needed to make one more response and ask them not to reply to it. Social media is supposed to be helpful, not obnoxious. Instead, it makes me seem like some boorish person who has to have the last word.

Back to generic responses.

The problem is that now that we know what a machine made response looks like, on the sending end of the equation, we have to go out of our way not to do anything which might be construed as equally impersonal. On the receiving end, it makes us more cynical.

I got a response this week from someone who I’d sent a particular link to a 3-minute video clip. While I lean toward the notion that he did indeed watch it, the response could have been equally written by someone who wanted to be cordial but decided to pass.

There wasn’t the specific response I was looking for. Perhaps we’re all just starting to talk like our devices. The pattern of communication has been disrupted, sort-circuited, rewired.

I’m told we don’t always pray specifically, either. That sometimes God doesn’t answer because we haven’t really asked for anything specific. The argument continues that we wouldn’t know the answer if we got it because we really didn’t delineate what we were hoping to happen.

Additionally, if you decide to comment on this blog post, you’ll see that my comment section begins, “Value-added comments only.” I’m expecting people to want to continue the discussion. If you say, “That was good;” I probably won’t run it.

I guess I’m looking for substance.

In my own responses to emails, you’re more likely to get:

  • Thanks. It was exactly the material we were looking for.
  • I got the attachment and am hoping open it tonight when I have more time.
  • I will do this, but you may not hear back until Monday.

It’s communication. Something we do. Something that separates us from the animals.

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments »

  1. Not only might we pray generic requests to God, but we might also pray generic prayers devoid of any relationship. “God, thanks for this, that, and the other thing, or whatever. Help me to do good at (life stuff). Uhh, Amen. Moving on to the rest of the day…”

    Comment by sonworshiper — January 31, 2019 @ 3:45 pm

  2. One of my pet peeves on Messenger is the thumbs up. I would rather have no response at all. It raises my blood pressure. I’m sure people find it a convenient way to acknowledge they’ve read something…but it is not communication. I did not have a smart phone until this time last year when I was given one due to a family emergency – and it is one more device I have to seriously assess for whether the negative aspects outweigh the benefits.

    Comment by dgraceofgod — January 31, 2019 @ 9:15 pm


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