One of my least favorite things to do in the entire world is to check my voice mail. I have hated it since I got my phone January 14th, 2000, when I turned 16, got a cell, and was suddenly responsible for all material coming into the phone. I never liked talking on the phone. None of my friends like talking on the phone. In fact, no one in my GENERATION likes talking on the phone.
Here comes the paradox. While in J-school (graduate school for journalism) I found I was expected to call people. Email interviews did not count, and any quote or fact obtained from email had to be clarified in the article. Words taken from email were somehow fake, like juice from concentrate.
Having the deep respect for news that I do, I value knowing reporters had a conversation; a responsive question-and-answer session. I like knowing the reporter interacted with sources. I value knowing my reporters aren’t emailing the policemen for the report, and instead, head off to the the scene themselves.
But here I am pondering, sitting at my desk and dreading the list of phone calls I have to make (I’m procrastinating, can you tell?). I am wondering: are words written in cyberspace any less poignant than spoken in person or over the phone? Would a tweet be more meaningful printed on paper? Is a blog rant worth less than a letter? Is a Facebook wall post less considerate than a phone call? And where do texts fit in? Skype? IM?
You see, as more media mediums become available, I find people both harder and easier to reach. I claim that if a person can’t be stalked on Google, they aren’t worth finding. But is tweeting someone the same as “connecting” with them? Who is worth reaching, what is “real” and is there a value hierarchy to communication mediums?