All of these inboxes to check and ways to talk to one another, in theory, make communication easier. But in practice? This disjointed way of communicating in the modern world just makes everything more exhausting. Instead of having one place to check, we have a dozen, and it makes the likelihood that something will fall through the cracks, I mean how many of us miss important emails….?

There’s nothing urgently wrong with that, and in many ways it leads to more open communication with people I’m not usually speaking to, but that’s as far as it goes. While in earlier years I would have sent a long text or email to a good friend to get in touch, these days, I just write a quick reply to an Instagram Story and call it a day. Our huge number of options spread across multiple platforms leads to shallow communication.

And it’s only getting worse, as each app and platform seeks to keep users for longer periods of time, including by adding in messaging functionality. All of these apps and platforms compete for our time and attention. As a result, we know more about the day-to-day motions of our friends lives than we ever did before, but is any of that really producing long-lived, deep, and meaningful connections, or is it just creating a world where all of us are really good at small talk through quick DMs? I’d venture to say it’s the latter. Call it the great shallowing and scattering of interpersonal communication.

Instead our communication is getting more and more scattered. Maybe an app will come along to vacuum up all our DMs in one place, but will it change anything about the shallow content of our communications?

Probably not, but maybe realising the problem is half the battle.