It was in my high school I first encountered the phrase “The Human is a Social Animal”. Personally I would tag myself as unsocial, and anyone who has been around me in the past would definitely agree. Inter-personal communication plays an important role in deciding how much social are we. This includes vocal, visual and textual communication with individuals and groups. Vocal communication with other individuals has been the scale for measuring the social factor for long, and that had always marked me as unsocial.
I grew up in an environment with less friends, and I could not recall a single day from my childhood playing with any friends, but my cousins. It has been the same during my school and I was never a popular boy around. I had few friends, mostly guys with similar interests in hacking a computer or making some music or making a smoke bomb. Beyond that I even my existence was barely known.
It was with the Internet, the unsocial boy with the name Nimal, became the social animal with the avatar TalkOut. It was my chance to redefine who I am socially. I started writing, I started making new friends an I started communicating through emails and IM, and all these thing I rarely or never did before. The major change here was the mode of communication, that shifted from the “voice and me” in the real world to “text and the cropped image” in the online world. It was still the early 2000s, a time when telephones were not my favorite.
Then came all the social networks, and started using many of them in the order of hi5, MySpace, Orkut, and Facebook. They came as the right tools for me, and I became as social animal at the end. I started communicating with my classmates and colleagues more often. Then came mobile phones, SMSs, Twitter and a lot more. Thought I was an early adopter of many of these communication technologies, the only thing that was never exciting for are the vocal communications, telephones or VoIP.
Few days back, I was just thinking about how I use my mobile phone and realized that it would be one of the rarely used phone based on talk time, among my colleagues. Did a small calculation for the last two years, and my daily talk time average is less than 4 minutes. This includes my home phone, my office phone, my two mobile phones, Skype and all VoIP communications. If I ignore all the official calls related to my work, this would be even less.
Am I spending time talking to friends in any other way? Do I hang around with friend? Except to couple of colleagues at office and few friends who are my “free”lance clients, I haven’t talked much to any other friends lately.
Thus the point I want to make here is, I’m still unsocial when it comes to vocal communication, thought I used to think I have changed.
[Now I’m thinking of doing few experiments, may be from early next year, which would mostly like based on abstinence from vocal communication. I am yet to find out how this could be done, with my job and other professional interests. I’ll be posing any updates if I happen to proceed with this.]