In 2012, I calculated that I sent about 7,000 texts a month; now, thanks to the creeping unwieldiness of phones and the misfirings of autocorrect, I can barely manage to peck out half a sentence before I become aggravated by the effort and give up. To combat that fatigue, I’ve turned to newer ways to talk and interact with friends, primarily voice memos. These function like a highly evolved version of voice mail — there’s no expectation of a return call, or even a simultaneous conversation. Freed from that pressure, my friends and I leave one another memos about episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Empire,” the themes of “Lemonade” or even just a detailed account of a date or run-in with an ex. The trend is catching on elsewhere: According to an article on Vice’s website Motherboard, voice notes have become so popular in Argentina that they’ve virtually replaced text messages altogether.
I enjoyed the article but this stood out to me most. I’ve written about this a lot. People never took the time to master the PC. They just trudged along hating their PC, getting viruses, getting ads, getting hacked, installing 5,000 tool bars and Bonzi Buddy and AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, clicking every link in Hotmail spam and ultimately breaking everything and touch-typing their way to Internet master-ship. Then, phones and tablets sort of saved us. Casual users could do everything on their phones but the phones don’t really do everything well, it’s like 10% of what a computer is. Phones are crippled by their size, battery life, touch screens and mobile operating systems oh and don’t forget about wireless internet that’s still slower than home WiFi not to mention WiFi itself is crap compared to being plugged in directly to your modem (which is why my whole house is wired w/ Ethernet).
Now we’re in this world where people hate typing on their phones and they communicate entirely using low-resolution front-facing cameras or sending audio messages to each other (cough, voicemails that supposedly everyone hates). I don’t get it. We’re in this strange world where everyone still hates the technology they use every day but won’t take the time to master using it to its fullest potential. Instead of trying to figure out why we hate typing on our phones, we just decide to use Snapchat instead.
Was the PC really that broken or were we just bad at using them to their fullest potential?