Communication & Going Dark
There seems to be a transgenerational norm in which people have found it absolutely acceptable to simply ignore another person with whom they have some connection with or obligation to, be it personal or professional. It’s easy; people can simply block other people with a click of a button for any reason whatsoever at any level they choose on social media, text messaging and phone calls. It’s so easy that to some proponents, going dark is a remote control, tuning out any conversation they find boring, undesirable or bothersome mid-sentence without actually telling the other party. It’s almost like walking away from someone you are chatting with in-person, except that in that case, the other person is aware of the departure.
I understand that there needs to be a filter or a way to disengage in cases of harassment, an unwanted solicitation or for when you need to focus on things important like when LeBron James invokes “Zero Dark Thirty-23” on social media to avoid distractions during the playoffs. I’m not blogging about avoiding social (media or otherwise) contact with all people, if that’s your thing. What I’m referring to is a conscious decision to use technology to unilaterally end a relationship with someone without expressing a single gesture because of a fundamental lack of courage and decency.
Trust me when I say that, I’m not writing this out of anger or about any particular experience, though I’ve been on the ‘non-receiving’ end more times than I’m comfortable with. I think the part that’s the hardest to deal with is when I have no idea what went wrong. The reasons behind the severance will never be known to the other because it’s easier to shut them off, than to man-up (forgive the gender-biased term) and tell them whatever it is they need to say to express a grievance or disassociate themselves. The second hardest thing to come to grips with is that society has allowed the backslide of basic communication manners with the ‘benefits’ of technology.
Personally, I think the practice of going dark is for the weak and individuals void of morals. Professionally, it is inexcusable, beyond reprehensible and an employment ending opportunity. To say that it’s the active process of ignorance is putting it mildly and it’s one small step below dishonesty on The Broker Brian’s Scale of Integrity and All Things that Make a Good Human Being”, not sold on Amazon.