The tragic implications of digital silence

You seethe as the amount of time grows between a message you've sent and a simple acknowledgment. You drop words like "rude" and "inconsiderate," arguing with silence, assuming the worst excuses for the lack of a reply.

On the other end of the communication tennis court, our inboxes have been transformed from sources of joy to sources of grief. What was once a welcome storehouse of friendly sentiments and long-lost hellos 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. Oh this person? Well I can see that he needs an answer, but I just can't deal with this right now.

How tragic is it that when we’re not scheduling our days according to our messages, we feel neglected when nobody is "talking" to us? Why do we feel that we only exist if we're being texted, tweeted, retweeted, favorited, tagged, shared, linked to, reblogged, replied to, messaged, commented on, liked, winked at, re-grammed and re-pinned?

There is a permanent smudge on our smartphones from where we've dragged the top of the screen down every minute to grab its notifications. Our pulses hum a little bit faster when we see the red number on that blue background. Has a conversation occurred without us? Did our friends laugh at something at a particular instance and we missed out on all the action and now have to frantically catch up? We were tagged in a comment and we missed it? How horrible to lag behind!

Our lives have become a race to keep up with hundreds of our so-called friends and their actions, vacations, outfits, meals, sentiments, links, spectator sports opinions, and Hollywood gossip insights. Multiply that by all your social media platforms, and all of your friends' friends, and the endlessness of posts, online content, photos, showbiz and news events. Even the smartest phone and the most powerful battery would fizzle and die, just like the capacity of our minds.

How about this? Stop refreshing your Facebook feed, your Twitter notifications, your Instagram walls, and the multi-foldered inboxes of your dozen email and messaging accounts. This quickly becomes a test in self-control, a practice in tempering one's ego, and an exercise in the acceptance of how things are to unfold without your presence. If you can, turn off all notifications and even your actual phone if you can stand it.

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. (And if they do need you, now it’s their turn to fall in line.) - Rappler.com  

Shakira Andrea Sison is a Palanca Award-winning essayist. She currently works in finance and spends her non-working hours enjoying her digital silence in subway trains. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002. Her column appears on Thursdays. Follow her on Twitter: @shakirasison and on Facebook.com/sisonshakira

Shakira Sison

Shakira Andrea Sison is a two-time Palanca-winning essayist. She currently works in finance and spends her non-working hours writing stories in subway trains. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002....

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