Wednesday, March 2, 2011

asynchronous communication

The latest finished thing for the Dictionary of Cyborg Anthropology. Asynchronous communication. Or, messages you have to wait for.

We've had this concept in our world ever since we started posting letters. Probably earlier. Messages run from the king of one country to another, town criers, carrier pigeon. Smoke signals. Tribal drums. Signs in the forest.

Even these days unless you are right there in person you don't really get true back-and-forth communication. I suppose a telephone conversation is usually in real time, for the most part, as long as you have a good connection. But even when I text or instant message people more often then not it's more like leaving a note for someone rather than talking to them. Sometimes I get a response right away. But sometimes people are in class, or in a library, or in the bathroom, or simply doing better things with their time. And that's as it should be. I don't want people to be locked to their phones or computers.