One of the greatest things about our advances in communication and connectivity, is our ability to ‘know everything instantly’.
If I want to reach a customer, be on top of industry comment, see the very latest headlines, or even just get a picture of my niece winning her first sports day race – I can get that to my phone within seconds of the activity having occurred.
With that ability of course, comes an insatiable appetite.
The more we know we can get, the more frustrated we are when we can’t connect quickly, or when our ability to broadcast or receive is disrupted.
This weekend I found myself thinking about that thirst for communication updates after reading some of the criticism that had centred around the tragic 7/7 bombings a decade ago.
Tomorrow marks that significant 10 year anniversary, and even now, much of the analysis is around the insufficient level of connectivity functions between core services at the time.
It got me thinking what a huge leap in communication capability we must surely have come since that time – but I wasn’t quite expecting to discover just how different today’s landscape is.
Let me take you back….
Facebook? Were you on it in July 2005? Probably not. It had reached one million users by the end of the previous year, but it wasn’t until October 2005 it became available in the UK.
Twitter? What’s that? No, you certainly weren’t tweeting in order to communicate the news of the devastating underground or bus bombings. In fact, it didn’t commence service until July 2006 – almost exactly a year following the tragedy.
And what about your Apple phone and its ability to let you scan and search all these social media streams? Nope, not until July 2007 did the first iphone emerge.
This vast change in the dynamics of how we’re telling and sharing news is almost unbelievable for such a relatively short space of time.
And of course, all this only makes you wonder how much further our capability will extend in another decade’s time.
One thing I personally feel it highlights, is the need to increase our personal ‘communication responsibility’.
Just because we CAN relay news and pass comment at the drop of a hat, it doesn’t mean we should do so without exercising judgment.
I remember seeing a really annoyed tweet in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Bombings of 2013.
It said: “Please guys, consider what you’re tweeting. Some of these images are horrific and does any relative want to learn what’s happened to their loved one in quite this way”.
It makes you wonder whether similar dramatic communications would have been being relayed from the centre of London that day back in 2005 – some with good intention, and some simply as an ill-considered action of those with too much desire to ‘catch the moment’.
Only a few weeks back, one of the casualties involved in the Alton Towers disaster hit out at those who were too busy taking photos on their phone to ‘get help’. Again, it challenges us to consider whether we think we’re more a social journalist, or whether our morality should make us behave differently despite the drama in front of us.
Social media still has plenty of critics, and plenty of abusers.
Perhaps at key anniversaries like this one, it’s useful to think how much positivity our obsession with communication has begun to bring and could yet do, at the same time as thinking about how we as individuals have a personal duty to abide by a sensible code of ‘user’ conduct.
**Pic courtesy Mapichai