Simon Kelner: The Skype's the limit for my technophobic brain

Kelner's view

Share

I have sat in more advertising presentations than is good for me. I've had more than my share of creative types with their sharp haircuts, their blue-framed spectacles and their Perspex briefcases. And I would be filled with joy if I never heard the phrase "low-hanging fruit" again.

Whether it is an art, a science or just a self-perpetuating industry of useful idiots, advertising is all around us as never before. The advent of digital communication has meant we are now constantly bombarded with messages, and never has there been more of a premium on the sort of advertising that is a provocation, and that cuts through the general din to make you think.

I saw one such ad on the side of a bus yesterday. It was for the internet video phone service Skype, and it read: "When did it become OK to text mum happy birthday?" This sentence presented a clear, direct challenge, and led my brain in a couple of directions. First of all, it made me wonder whether it is always beyond the pale to text birthday greetings to someone close to you, or is there a level at which it becomes acceptable? A relative threshold, if you like. For instance, it's my brother's birthday next week.

He might find it weird if I send him a card (in fact, he probably thinks it's weird that I've even remembered his birthday at all) but will he think it a cursory gesture if I just text him? I can't imagine so. For better or worse, texting has become the means of communication for most of us – so much easier than actually talking to people – and the only reason you might not text your mum "happy birthday" is out of respect for the last generation to feel that texting is impersonal.

Of course, the advert is designed to make you use Skype, though that may prove something of a technological challenge for the elderly.

My other thought process was about Skype itself. I am a relatively recent convert to this means of communication, because my daughter has been travelling for a few months and doesn't want to spend money on phone calls that she could be spending on drink. I am lost in admiration for technology that allows me to talk to her, and see her on my iPad. My mind is even more boggled by the fact that neither of us seems to be paying for the privilege. She is back home next week, and I am obviously looking forward to seeing her. But I wondered yesterday: would I be even more excited to see her if I had not been in regular Skype contact?

I've already seen that her freckles have come out in the sun, and her hair has grown. To miss someone is a beautiful thing, but has Skype just slightly dulled the expectation of reunion? It's the joy of seeing a face both familiar and unfamiliar that makes for such a profound feeling, and the hours of Skype may have dispelled any lingering mystique. So how best to welcome her back? I know, I'll send her a text.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Biomass Sales Consultant

£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Java Developer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My Client are a successful software hous...

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

MS Dynamics NAV/Navision Developer

£45000 - £53000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS DYNAMICS N...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Katie Hopkins is a true Twitter villain

Felicity Morse
Adele performs onstage during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A  

Adele knows that privacy is the best gift a famous mother can give her child

Chloe Hamilton
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game