Extreme Formality in Internet Communications

The Law:

Ninety percent of all communication that traverses the internet is utter waste. Of the rest, 90% is still utter waste.”

That's what “Kiran's Recursive Law of Network Communications” states. I have actually derived a complex equation involving variables which range from electromagnetic to social to cultural to psychological (even hormonal) to postulate this theory. However, in order to protect my ambitions of winning a Nobel Prize for this work, I shall not publish that equation here.

But, this conclusion did not come to me in my dreams. No, sir. Just like Sir Isaac Newton arrived at the theory of gravity after an apple fell on his head; my theory too formed itself slowly, after a couple of events acted as trigger to its formation.

I hereby provide a sneak-peek at the deeply scientific and methodical approach that led to what will soon be regarded as one of the greatest postulates of the 21st century. I shall disclose 2 of the events that led to the formation of the theory.

The Instant Messenger Syndrome.

This is what a typical chat session on my company's internal IM looks like. Observe how there are only 4 lines in this conversation that are actually of any use whatsoever.

Colleague: Hi Kiran
Me: Hi [Colleague]
Colleague: Good Evening
Me: A very good morning to you too. [If the colleague is in a different time zone]
Colleague: How are you today?
Me: I'm doing good, thanks. How about yourself?
Colleague: Ah, [something about weather, the weekend camping expedition or NBA].
Me: Oh that's great (and a grinning smiley in order to not appear disinterested)
Colleague: BTW Kiran, I had a couple of question about [technical topic]. Do you have a couple of minutes?
Me (Haven't I already spent more than a couple of minutes in small-talk?): Sure [colleague], go ahead.
Colleague: [One-liner-question-1]?
Me: [Monosyllabic-answer-1]
Colleague: [One-liner-question-2]?
Me: [Monosyllabic-answer-2]
Colleague: Great, I've got all the answers I was looking for. Thanks Kiran.
Me: Anytime/[or welcome/ywc/sure/nps]
Colleague: I'l get back to you if I have any other issues.
Me: Sure.
Colleague: TTYL
Me (#$%^).

If not cured, this disease might manifest itself in the following form in a short span of time:

Employee 1 (E1): Hey Employee2, do you have a few minutes?
Employee 2 (E2): Sure E1, tell me.
E1: Hey, I had a doubt. If you are not busy right now, do you mind if I send you a query by email?
E2 ($%^&): Oh sure, no problem.

E1 will then send an email to E2; to which E2 will respond within 100 seconds and 100 characters.
5 minutes later:
E1: Hey E2, have a minute?
E2 (exasperated): Yes E1, go ahead.
E1: Hey, just wanted to thank you for answering my doubt over email

The Twitter effect:

Once I re-tweeted a tweet from one of the persons I follow. It turns out that almost a dozen other people had re-tweeted the same tweet too. And this lady replies to all in a single tweet thanking them for the RTs.

Lady: @one @two @three @four @five @six @seven @eight @nine Thanks for the RT on the [something] tweet

And what happens next? One of the guys who was thanked actually responds to EVERYONE welcoming the lady!!!

Three: Anytime @Lady. @one @two @three @four @five @six @seven @eight @nine Thanks for the RT on the [something] tweet

Do you believe that? It's not long before we see a tweet like this:

Oneguy: @Otherguy, thanks for thanking me when I thanked you for thanking me back after I thanked you for RT'ing me.

The Applications:

You think that this law is pure theory and has no practical application? Think again. This theory leads to the ultimate solution to all the network bandwidth problems the world is facing. The solution is this:

Ban the use of formality in internet communications – especially formal communications.”

Oh it's OK. No standing ovation please. I accept all the praise for this stunning scientific achievement in all humility. There really is no need to name a unit of measurement after me.

6 comments to Extreme Formality in Internet Communications

  • Is it ok to discuss the chat conversation between you and your colleague? I am not sure if your company will approve of this act.

  • @BK Chowla: This chat conversation is purely hypothetical. In fact, the narrator is not even "me" - and everything you see here is a figment of my imagination. So I don't think there's reason to worry :)

  • Well, I don't really know if your rule applies to 80% of those who use internet communications... Think about it dude...just how many people in your company, and the others, use internet communication formally and work seriously throught the day? :P
    It's ironical...it's true!!
    Secondly, yeah too much is no gud...but a little friendly chat helps doesn't it? We are not just machines who give output when fed wid input...

  • good work :)

  • Hilarious, yet so true! :-)

  • @amruta: You are right. Though this post was meant to be a one-sided humourous look at things :)

    @PC, @Abhi: Thanks :)

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