Friday, 12 July 2013

20th Century Schizoid Men & Women

SMS

Lots of us seem to still be stuck in the 20th century. No, I’m not talking about those still using a mirror to check on themselves in this age where everyone carries a front facing camera on their phone; I’m talking much, much worse.
I’m talking about people who, in this day and age, still send SMS messages to one another. I can see where the need comes from: often one wants to push across a message to another person without breaking into full conversation but while having fair confidence the message will be read shortly. Virtues aside, you already know this thing about SMS: per character, it’s the most expensive method conjured for sending your characters away. Not to mention its inherent limitation, being a text service.
All the while services such as Twitter, Whatsapp, Viber, Skype or Google Hangouts – to name but a few – are not only free, more or less, but are also far superior. As in, you can hold chats, send photos, send videos, or – wait for it – even embark on a video call if you feel like it. Or a video conference call. As in, all of these are services that allow your conversation to flow one way or another, whichever way you see fit, and the cost? Nil.
Yet people still send SMSs. Or, heavens forbid, make phone calls.

Note I did not mention privacy throughout. By now we know that all of the above mentioned forms of communication are tappable or are actively being tapped by the NSA (Skype being a favorite example); we know Australia takes an active part in this tapping; and we also know information collected by the NSA is shared with “friendly” governments around the world.
If you value your privacy, as you should, then you will need to look for it elsewhere. Here would be a good place to start. However, do note that at the moment the services that can provide private communications are significantly lacking user friendliness when compared with mainstream services. Also note their true level of privacy is debatable, given their reliance on passwords and people’s general inability to securely maintain passwords that make the grade.


Image by Erik_Schlange, Creative Commons license

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