Niall Mulrine

Technology: When is the last time you spoke to someone?

Double screening

WHAT in mother’s name does that statement of a title mean? When is the last time you spoke to someone? Have a think about it and see if there is any sentiment to that statement?

How many people have I been in touch with today and communicated with? How did I contact them and where? Take into account of the gadgets used to contact someone including phones, Tablets, Laptops, computers, social media etc.

So much so, there may be a surprise to the amount of contact you physically had when speaking with someone via face to face. This maybe differentiate a little for people in certain work environments, but broadly speaking people will admit to communicating more so virtually than in real time face to face?
Adults spend at least 23 hours per week communicating using technology


A study carried out in America last year by Desoto, Kansas found that average American adult was in contact with 275 online connections per week which accumulated to 23 virtual hours. These are statistics coming from across the water and I know people will say, “That’s in America, we are different in Ireland?” Are we so much different? I think not!

Share a meeting via online Platforms

For anyone who attends meetings, presentations, group work, seminars and a range of other events where people gather, have a look around the room at what people are doing? I am sure you will see a phone come out of people’s pockets at many a stage to check emails, texts and Facebook. It has become a norm now and the fact that you are not 100% paying attention to a speaker does not deter the fact of putting away a phone. Educational, business and media presentations are not complete without a full room of Tablets on knees and phones in hands. People are tweeting what speakers are saying to all their followers who cannot make it and also to those that are in the same room. Then a bunch of people will concur with the status and by the end of meeting, the same people have continue conversations about their thoughts. This is also a great ice breaker for people meeting new people for first time and not knowing what to talk about is not as big an issues as before!

SMS texting is number use of mobile phones
A Gallup poll in September 2014 found that American adults 39% of the poll admitted to using a phone to text a lot and secondly use it for phone calls followed by emails. These results show that the mobile phone being in the possession almost 24 hours per day is leading the availability people are to others in short notice and how short conversations have being regarded. 91% people are within arms distant from their phones when sleeping giving rise to the phone addiction phenomenon we see globally. “Nomophobia” is the fear of being without a mobile device. Even though the results only fell by 10% for adults over 65, we can see that the age category is not a limiting factor to use of technology anymore. Remembering to take into account that every piece of data is sent via phones and laptops are bytes, which stored accounts for 90% of the World data from the last 2 years only.

Where does all these messages go when they leave our phones?
Text messages at the end of the day are small pieces of electronic data that is send via packets from one device and received on another. In between these 2 devices is what the cloud hosting services or mobile phone operator servers. Imagine 2 years and there has been a collection of virtual data stored on servers all around the world that belong to us all and this is a measurement since the days of computing!!! What a growth of data transfer! To give us an idea of how this data was compiled, Millennial conducted a study that took a one minute snapshot example of a few items:
1. 2 million Google searches within 60 seconds
2. Updates within a 60 second range was 685 thousand
3. 200 Million emails were sent
4. And 48 hours of footage was uploaded to video platform YouTube.

Are we like Little Miss Riding Hood?
With all this data floating about in virtual servers, datacentres, make shift data storage rooms and back street garages, do we simply realise how much breadcrumbs we leave behind? What we all today is digital footprints and most times people and computers can be traced back to their origin and owner. So when communicating via technology there are lots of areas where your communication can be intercepted and abused. Only recently someone was telling me how their friend made the awful mistake of sending a downgrading text of someone to that actual person instead of their friend. Think of the horror when your “friend” that you gave out about actually opens the next that you sent. This has happen lots of times to many a person and we all make mistakes. But this mistake has broken the friendship these 2 people had, even if it was a shallow one. It’s hard to beat the old face to face conversation in this case!!!!!!

I wish I could experience the place you are in now
But all joking aside, nothing replaces the good banter people have when in other people’s company. We get to enjoy body language, energy, sounds, smells of all the surroundings with a face to face converstation. I am writing this to reinforce my own habits too, as

I am one for sending short messages to find out simple questions rather than lifting phone to speak or getting out and meeting the person. But look, its different strokes for different folks. Some people would say I text someone to get a yes or no answer quickly rather than having to lift the phone and talk grab for 4 minutes about weather and sport before asking the questions!!!
Take what you want from this, but one thing for sure is, that our communication patterns are rapidly changing and their effects to be seen globally.

I would like to hear if you agree or disagree with these thoughts, by emailing


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