The Tragic Implications of Digital Silence


If you hear silence, then you have been rejected a hundredfold. The person you desire has shown your glaring insignificance by making you unworthy of even shortening “Okay” into “OK” or even to “K.” It would be a waste of energy to press that single key, even if only to relieve a little tension with that emotionless, inconsequential reply.

Her breakfast update on Facebook was more important than your diet of bitten fingernails. Her retweet of a funny joke was more valuable than recognizing the widening hole in your chest. The link to sneezing baby pandas or the latest Gaga impersonation is definitely more relevant than the hours you’ve spent patiently awaiting lights and beeps on digital displays.

Every minute that passes is an insult. Every email someone opens before they send a reply to yours is a blatant statement that your concerns are not as pressing, and your (digital) presence not as compelling as his boss’, his mother’s or his wife’s. An unacknowledged text message is a malicious alibi that she will use later if questioned, as she challenges the concept of time and the nature of message delivery. I never got it. And then, Oh look, I just got it NOW.

Our inboxes have been transformed from sources of joy to sources of grief. What was a welcome storehouse of friendly sentiments is now a list of responsibilities we must prioritize and cull. You are not relevant so I will read you later. You are a source of income so I will reply now. You are spam and I don’t need Cialis.

On the other hand, how tragic is it that when you’re not scheduling your day according to your messages, you feel neglected when nobody is talking to you? Why do you feel that you only exist if you’re being texted, Tweeted, tagged, linked to, reblogged, replied to, messaged, commented on, liked, winked at and poked? Stop refreshing your Facebook notifications, your Twitter mention list or the multi-foldered inboxes of your dozen email and messaging accounts.

Relax and find comfort in this tragedy: nobody in this enormously small, tightly wound ultra-wired multimedia world needs you, at least not at this excruciatingly long, torturously quiet minute.

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