We have all read the stats. A billion people on Facebook, hundreds of millions on Twitter and LinkedIn. Billions of blogs including this one.
I was reading an article in the New York Times this morning on my iPad while lying in bed. I had to make sure I wasn’t missing any e-mails at 6.30 AM. The article was about the anxiety of the unanswered e-mail. Yes we have all had it happen to us. We send out an e-mail and there is no response. We wait a few days and then try again. Nobody home. We agonize if we should send a third e-mail to a post box called rejection when they clearly aren’t listening to us.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with somebody yesterday who was lamenting how personal interaction protocols have been breaking down. I have heard the words many times before. It’s rude they say. It’s just not right. It’s unprofessional. All of the above.
Now in today’s New Normal when I listen to somebody who is expecting to hear back because they sent their resume to a company I just shrug my shoulders. My expectations are very low but when you looking for work you want the elevation of the courtesy of a response. A little career reassurance. Maybe an e-mail saying you aren’t right for this position but you sure have done a lot of nice things in your career. Sixty seconds that can lift a weary soul, create a company ambassador and put a smile on a human face. But then again I have low expectations today.
People sometimes reach out to me by phone. I am pretty easy to find on Google. They call me on my cell. They can be from other cities, other countries even. My Canada. They committed time to finding me. I make a reciprocal effort to contact them, maybe spend some time researching them before I call but not too long because I have to get right back to them. We chat and I follow up with some thoughts, maybe some free ideas, maybe something more. And then I wait. I wait and then I call. I e-mail and then I wait and then I stop. I have changed my expectations. Chasing rejection is futile.
I have been listening about a lot of recent books about the impact of the internet on our lives. There are Ted Talks on being Connected but Alone. Many people have a hard time getting to the gym but we have no problem accelerating our response time to any electronic stimulus to instantaneous in an over busy world. We could probably solve a few problems if we all put a similar commitment to a few of the world’s problems.
Yes protocols, politeness, and even plain manners have to a degree disappeared in the New Normal. Maybe we all have to remember the echoes of our mother’s voices that we did when we were growing up. That benchmark of never disappointing was seldom breached. It embedded a pattern of behavior in the future but there are no mother’s voices echoing in e-mails.
There is your reputation. That tends to endure. Maybe even more so in the online world of today.
So at the end of the day how well connected are we in the New Normal? As connected as you want to be if you put down the phone and walk away from the computer and talk to somebody in your Starbucks line. It might lift your expectations when they write your name on the cup.
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