Technologically gifted … socially inept

November 17, 2007 in It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (0)


Why is it that the more technologically advanced society becomes, the more socially retarded people seem to be?
Or is it just that with the pervasive nature of interconnectedness I’m just now exposed to a hell of a lot more people and in that increased volume it’s inevitable that ratio of poorly behaved folks rises?
Whatever the case, I’m hoping that the latest interaction I’ve had is merely a case of social ineptitude … and not a stalker.

It began with my cell phone ringing at a ridiculously early hour.
Okay, so 8:00am isn’t all THAT early, but it is a Saturday after all.
In any case, I look at the caller ID and see a strange country code. 91.
Wait a second … that’s INDIA!?
Now a friend of mine from Seesmic (the unsinkable “Pistachio”) happens to be in India right now … But I couldn’t imagine that she’d be calling.
So I let it go to voice mail.
Then it rang again.
And again.
And again.
No voice mails were left, so I figured it was merely some VoIP spam from a call center somewhere in Bangalore.
That’s when the text message arrived.
“Is this Cathy? I’m trying to find you and link as friend.”
Now it bears mentioning that in my line of work I interact with people from all over the world as a matter-of-course. The requests come in with steady frequency from LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, Twitter and so forth. Between people whose grasp of English is limited to the challenges of colloquial variations, I’ve learned that it’s important to scrape the surface a bit on some communications to ascertain what, precisely, someone might mean.
So I replied:
“Yes, this is Cathy. Who are you?”
And that’s when I got a series of texts that were really strange.
First he tells me that he’s a 39 year old guy in India, that he found me on Mobiluck and here’s his email address and won’t I write him to be his friend.
Again, this isn’t really the weird part, because people reach out to near and complete strangers from the digital ether all the time trying to connect and make friends – that’s part of the amazing and wonderful thing that is the Internet and Social Media.
But the persistence of the initial effort by phone followed by the text just weirds me out.


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