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Aug 22, 2012

How Do I Know that It's You vs How Do I Know You

As a person working in communication field, I've been (and always) impressed and mesmerized by the advancement of communication device. Here I live in Indonesia, a developing country where we often lag behind developed world (especially in terms of technology). What I feel may not happen to everyone, probably only few of us. Okay, let's say it's my personal experience.

When I was a little kid, I haven't stayed yet in the capital of Indonesia. At that time I lived in a city that's in the intersection of modern and traditional world. To have a fixed telephone line at every home might be an impossible request. The national telephone company had always say that it's hard to reach your area, blah blah blah. Thus, when I needed to make a call to my friend (for homework thingy etc), I went to a phone booth rental. And when I heard my friend's voice, I was impressed,
"Oh, this is how her voice at phone. Is that really her?" And I was happy that I could talk and express something that's in my mind without spending many miles away to a face to face meeting.
 Besides telephone, I also ever been impressed with letter, a traditional mail. At that time I had a classmate went to US and I sent a letter to her (traditional one with stamps), and she got my letter (even though it took two weeks to receive). This might sound silly, but I was really happy doing that.
Although there's a correspondence address (for mail) and designated number (for phone call), sometimes I was wondering "How do I know that it's you?" It's a question showing how mesmerized I was, anyway.

Then mobile phone came for us to have. My Mom had that before me, but then all of our family members used it. Well, on mobile phone (even the very old one), there's a phone book feature. And it's a usual thing right now for us to see a name appeared on our mobile phone screen (when there's an ingoing call). But at that time, my Dad (who's less technology savvy than me) saw a name appeared on my Mom's mobile phone screen, then he's asking us "How does this mobile phone know that this number belongs to Ida?" We just laughed when we heard that.

Then the internet era came, and I used it a lot for chatting (with mIRC and Yahoo Messenger). Chatting to whom? Stranger, from different country, city, etc. At that time I was still in the 5th grade. (you may say that I was strange enough, though). Sometimes the person could say that his name was Shane, living in US (for instance). And some of my classmates even played around by saying that they were boys (but they were girls, in fact). In this platform, same question : "How do I know that it's you?"

Until right now, in the social media era, where Facebook is the king, and over than 80% of internet users in Indonesia are social media users; sometimes around 1/5 of our friends on Facebook are people that we don't know. And by any occassion, there may be some friend requests from people that we don't know, never met before, or maybe we simply forgot. Social media really makes communication becomes way easier than before. It's enabling us to reach people that's (logically) we won't be able to reach. Say it could be celebrity, public figure, industry experts, potential employer, or even the girl next door. Everything becomes visible and possible, until we get confused and ask ourselves "How do I know you?" (whether for case 1:  that finally we get to know and meet the person we want to reach and case 2 : when we get an unidentified friend request).

All in all, the advancement of communication technology shapes our mind generally and shapes our perception towards others. Different era = different way = different question rises in the air. The similar one is the sceptical nature of people, we always try to recall and analyze everything we see.
Have you ever been in the situation of "How do I know that it's you?" or "How do I know you?"