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Communication at the Speed of Light: Is it Really a Good Thing?

Prior to the invention and widespread proliferation of the telegraph, and then the telephone, and radio, and television, and finally, the internet, communication across great distances was a very, very slow process. News did not travel fast. An event on one side of the planet might take a year to be heard about on the other side of the planet if it was ever heard about at all. Contrast that with modern communications where anyone with an internet connection and a smart device can nearly instantaneously communicate with anyone else in the world who has the same and you start to see that there might be some real ramifications from such a capability. That is the subject of this article.

Communication in general is a double-edged sword. It can be used for both good and bad, truth and lies. Before modern communications came into being, a lie could be discovered and properly addressed before it got very far. Nowadays, the whole world is talking about it before the first person starts to question it. In the pre-high-speed communications world, a person who told lies was typically identified before the lies got too far out into the public. Such a person would soon lose his reputation for honesty and integrity and would be ignored and disrespected. In the world of high-speed communications, lies are repeated so quickly and so often, and penetrate so deeply into the public psyche before they are discovered for what they are, that rarely does anyone know who started it.

There is a phenomenon whereby people tend to believe the first thing they hear about something and then when a different explanation comes along, they are far less inclined to believe it. This is because people don’t like to admit that they have been duped. Because lies spread so quickly now, it is very difficult to overcome them with the truth. Consequently, rapid communication has had a negative overall effect on society. And, of course, the more you hear something repeated, the more you start to believe it must be true.

But is it really corroboration when you are using CNN to corroborate what you just heard on MSNBC? And when the major media gets its talking points from a single source and all of them start parroting the same lines, the repetition occurs so quickly and penetrates so deeply into the public conscience that no one is safe from falling into the trap of believing them. (Which is why I got rid of my television decades ago and never looked back.)

Here’s a little thought experiment: Have you ever received a provocative email or text from someone and immediately responded in fury, only to later regret your response? Have you, as a result, trained yourself not to respond right away to emails and texts that make you angry? That’s a really good idea. And it just goes to show how high-speed communications have changed the human interaction dynamic.

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A hundred and fifty years ago, if you received such a letter in the mail you’d have to take the time to respond by mail. By the time you got out your stationery and pen (and ink), wrote out the first draft of your letter by hand, addressed an envelope, obtained and affixed postage, and then took it out to put in the mail, you had more than enough time to cool down and rethink your response. 

Makes you wonder how many letters like that never got sent! Imagine that you are the leader of a nation and receive news weeks after the fact that another nation has taken action against one of your closest allies. Given such a delay, your response is far more likely to be well-considered and appropriately measured. If you, the leader, are hearing about it in real-time, isn’t your response far more likely to be less well-considered and appropriate? Again, chalk one up for slower communications.

Once upon a time, in a memory far, far away, people used to work set hours and go home. It wasn’t practical to take your work home with you. Mail came to the office. Your big clunky typewriter was at your office (or your stone and chisel). There was no such thing as “desktop publishing.” Without telephones, email, or texting, your clients couldn’t contact you after hours. Nowadays, the serious businessperson who isn’t available until they go to bed at night is likely to be outcompeted by some energetic upstart who answered the call when you didn’t. And your competitor doesn’t complain! In fact, he (or she) might even encourage their clients to contact them any time of day or night, “it’s no inconvenience!”

On the flip side of this, and as we saw when so many people went to remote working from home during the Big COVID Scare of 2020, superfast communications have made it possible to work from nearly anywhere. And as people began to realize that they could multitask by doing personal tasks and work tasks simultaneously, particularly if they spread the work out over a longer workday, people became far more productive. As a consultant who frequently interacts with government employees, I noticed much faster response times from my government counterparts during COVID 2020 when they were working from home. I was not the only one to notice this. Chalk one up for high-speed communications!

Another thing I have noticed about living in a world with high-speed communications is that it is very easy to tell who is responsive and who is not. This is about conscientiousness. Conscientiousness is one of The Big Five Personality Traits commonly referred to by the acronym, OCEAN. OCEAN stands for openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Gotta love that last one! It turns out that conscientiousness is a strong indicator of how successful someone is likely to be. And it has been my observation that how fast someone responds to your inquiries is directly proportional to how conscientious they are.

If you want to impress someone, never make them wait a second longer than necessary to respond. And in this day and age, it is easy to do. Imagine how hard it would be to tell how conscientious someone was back when the mail service was the best you had?! Hahahaha! Fuhgeddaboudit.

The items I have discussed so far, alone, make it nearly impossible to live and work in today’s world without a cell phone. You couldn’t possibly keep up with your competition without one. And frankly, I like not having to find a phone booth to call someone anymore when I’m away from home. That is a beautiful thing. And what makes it particularly appealing is that the person you want to call may be in another state, long-distance, which used to cost a lot of money, but now costs nothing! Chalk another one up for high-speed communications.

A big part of the high-speed communications world we live in now is social media. Like it or not, social media is here to stay. Personally, I don’t care for it. And thankfully, it hasn’t yet become a necessity for my business. I know it is for some. The problem with social media, as the late, great, legendary media figure Rush Limbaugh used to say, is that no one posts anything negative about themselves on it. Consequently, people give others the impression that their life is always amazing and wonderful, which, in Rush’s estimation makes other people depressed because they know their own life isn’t that amazing and wonderful. One day someone is posting how happy they are and the next day you hear they have committed suicide.

And how often have you seen someone post something seemingly innocent to social media only to have a bunch of their so-called “friends” block them and/or berate them for offending them? So crazy. Social media has somehow gotten people to say things publicly that afterward, they wished they’d kept it to themselves. The old saying, “better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt” comes to mind. Before high-speed communications, foolishly speaking generally only had local repercussions. With the advent of social media, your several hundred “friends” can know instantaneously what an idiot you are. Let that sink in.

And there is much danger in how you post things to social media. For example, you post a link to an article without any commentary. Some people think you must agree with the article, while others know you are just sharing another example of something you completely disagree with. Or you post something you think all your friends will surely agree with only to find out there are quite a few who now no longer want to be friends with you.

Having people dump you as a friend is a hard thing to take for most people. In our minds, we all want to be liked and respected. Truly, if people really could read each other’s minds unrestricted, war would likely be constant and never-ending. There’d be no such thing as a “civil society.” Families even, would be ripped apart. Social media does this. Chalk another one up for slow communications.

Here is a topic that is surely affected by rapid communications. Mistakes. On the minor effects side, how often have you sent an email and forgot the attachment you meant to send with it? It’s minor because it is simple enough, although maybe a little embarrassing, to just send the attachment in a follow-up email. On the major effects side, you’re a day trader and your fat thumb hit the wrong key and you just bought thousands of shares of something you didn’t want. No way to bring it back. You’re screwed. We saw this happen to great effect one time when something similar caused a major one-day stock market crash. Yikes, talk about embarrassing. And there’s everything in between. Don’t you just love it when you hit send on a text, only to realize spell correct changed a word or two and now you’ve just highly insulted your spouse or friend, or worse, your client? Chalk another one up for slow communications.

Any successful businessperson knows this rule: nothing beats face-to-face communication. Nothing. It has been well-demonstrated when people communicate face-to-face far more information gets exchanged between the communicators than just words. People read other people’s facial expressions when they are talking. They listen to voice inflection. Body language speaks volumes sometimes.

But meeting someone face-to-face takes time and effort and can be exhausting. That, ironically, is what makes it so much better than a phone conversation, let alone an email or a text. An article published in Psychology Today back in 2014 really caught my attention because researchers had quantified the information loss between face-to-face vs phone call vs email communications. In the article, the author states that a whopping 55 percent of a message was derived from facial expressions, 38 percent from voice intonations, and, if you can believe it, only 7 percent from the actual words themselves.


Before high-speed communications came along, all we had was face-to-face communication and letters in the mail. So, you either got the whole meaning of the message or just 7 percent! Of course, if you go far enough back in time, we’re talking waaaay back in time, before writing came into existence, there was only face-to-face communications. Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, a lot fewer misunderstandings probably occurred back then. Chalk another one up for slow communications.

Finally, high-speed communications have resulted in a situation where information can be transmitted instantaneously all around the world. In real-time, they call it. The wide proliferation of smart devices with cameras has resulted in incredible opportunities for spying. I saw a photo one time of Mark Zuckerberg, or Commander Data as I like to call him (although that’s really an insult to Commander Data), sitting at his desk in front of his laptop. His laptop had a piece of electrical tape over the camera. I don’t know about you, but if Commander Data thinks this is necessary, I’m putting it on my camera, too! So, privacy issues are obviously huge in the era of high-speed comms. How often have we seen the perversions of powerful people and celebrities exposed because of carelessness with their smart devices? And to top it off, people are actually buying and installing listening devices in their homes! How crazy is that, Alexa? I’m probably guilty of some kind of oppression for toggling Siri off in the settings on my laptop.

Between spying and making everything dependent upon high-speed internet and all the infrastructure of Big Tech, the governments of the world have figured out that modern communications technology has given them an opportunity for unprecedented power and control.

Imagine this scenario. The Globalist/New World Order people create a way to monitor every aspect of your life. Then, they create a system of rewards and punishments based on how they want you to behave. Let’s call it a “social credit” system. Money becomes entirely digital. If you do not act as you are told, your bank accounts and credit cards are blocked. You walk into a store and your face is instantly recognized by cameras and artificial intelligence. They know where you are. They don’t like what you’ve been doing or saying. A guard approaches you and denies you entrance to the store. Oh wait. You don’t need to imagine it. They already have it in China. And rest assured, Big Tech has every intention of bringing it to America.

If you think this is crazy talk and it could never happen here, you need to wake up and get with the program. Never before in the course of human history has total global domination and control ever been so completely within the grasp of a small group of extremely rich, extremely powerful, extremely evil people. Whether we let them or not depends on us. Chalk one up for the people.

By Devin Kennemore

Devin Kennemore is a full-throated conservative blogger at The Gatherer, and a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

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