For David Hume, increased conversation between men and women corresponded to “an increase of humanity, from the very habit of conversing together.” But Hume didn’t know about Gchat, which offers us so many opportunities for conversation that conversation becomes impossible.We are distracted from chatting by chatting itself.
Thus the hostesses of the Enlightenment received visitors in a new kind of furniture.In 1667, the Gobelins tapestry-weaving workshop became Louis XIV’s official furniture supplier.Previously, fabric—like Madame de Rambouillet’s velvet—had been confined to walls and clothing.The Gobelins were the first to apply it to chairs, which for many long, uncomfortable centuries had been small and hard. The , for instance, had wraparound wings against which the listener might rest her cheek, as the priest had done behind his screen.AOL also launched the first mass IM interface, which was where the real action happened.
Each conversation appeared as a flat, white square on your screen—it was like having sex on a tiled floor. Signing off was like walking out of a public bathroom. ” were likely lies, screen names universally inscrutable.
Or we chat with coworkers, carrying on an endless conversation that sounds, to the half-aware ears of our superiors, like the soft tip-tapping clatter of real industry.
Our banalities are more shameful than any fantasy or confession.
Eventually, we apologize for dropping the ball, invoking a more pressing technology: “Sorry, on the phone.” But now it is our friend who doesn’t respond!
Is he really gone, or has the sneak downloaded that add-on that allows users to appear idle when they’re chatting?
(Registration opened to the public in 2007.) Being new, it was also youthful: you could tell when a person signed up for email by the client they used—AOL between 19; Hotmail or Yahoo! When Gmail automatically added Gchat to every user’s inbox in 2006, it was like a conspiracy of the young against the old.