24 Sep The Controversy of E-mail
I first heard the name Shiva Ayyadurai about a month ago. A cool name, no doubt, but what was even cooler the few words that followed:
“Inventor of E-mail.”
What? A single man with an Indian-sounding name invented one of the most revolutionary forms of communication ever? I did some more investigating and, as it turns out, the truth is more complicated. Every article you read about the invention of e-mail tells a different story—
If you were to visit Dr. Ayyadurai’s website, he’d tell you that his siring of e-mail is beyond a shadow of a doubt. Look up the topic elsewhere, and you’ll find articles saying everything from “Dr. Ayyadurai had a significant role in the invention of e-mail” to “Dr. Ayyaduri is the biggest scam artist in history.”
We humans like tidy answers, so this divergence is frustrating.
But what’s really frustrating here is another kind of divergence. One that you could say has been spawned by e-mail.
Think about communication before e-mail. When you met someone in person, called them or sent them a letter, by and large, you acted like yourself throughout. Sure, you might be careful about what you say around certain people, but it’s really a what you see is what you get type scenario.
Then along came (Dr. Ayyadurai and his miracle invention) e-mail, and communication was forever changed.
Sure, it seemed like business as usual, for the most part. Instead of a call, type up an e-mail. Distance makes meeting impossible? E-mail.
But because of the instant anonymity e-mail offered, darker tendencies emerged in certain individuals. The disenfranchised could aim anger and ridicule at whomever they wanted with impunity. Hate your boss? Send him an anonymous e-mail. The technology made it possible!
Great for cowards, but I have a problem with this. If you’ve read my e-book Nived’s A to Z, you’ll recall that my C word is Congruency. What Congruency means is a consistency between a person’s words and actions regardless of the scenario. Hiding behind a computer screen and spewing hate is the total opposite of Congruency, it’s Anti-Congruency. And the Anti-Congruency trend on a large-scale basis started with e-mail.
Unfortunately, as more modes of internet communication sprouted, Anti-Congruency became even more prevalent. Forums, Blogs, then finally, the most flagrant displays of Anti-Congruency ever… YouTube Comments! We’re now dealing with massive populations who have no trouble cursing people out, hate-mongering and just generally being despicable people in a manner that they would never ever do in real life.
Just last week, the Anti-Congruency phenomenon came full circle when Shiva Ayyadurai married… ready for this? Fran Drescher. That’s right, the supposed inventor of e-mail married TV’s The Nanny! Who says nerds never get the girl?
These two people found each other. Happiness and joy all around, right? Yeah, you’d think that, but we’re in the Internet Age, remember? Where Anti-Congruency reigns supreme?
So what you will see (and what I did see) under an article about the Ayyadurai-Drescher marriage was overwhelmingly negative. Interracial marriage is bad. Fran Drescher is annoying. Shiva Ayyadurai is ugly. Indians are weird. Foreigners are bad. Good thing they’re too old to have kids because their Indo-Jew offspring would be the greediest person ever. Etc. Etc. Etc.
If Dr. Ayyadurai were to ever read these comments… not that he ever would, I’m sure him and his four MIT degrees have more important things to do… but if he ever did, I’m sure he’d think, “I’ve (allegedly) created a monster.”
All of this is a roundabout way of asking—begging—you not to fall into the trap of Anti-Congruency. If you wouldn’t say something to someone face to face, don’t say it in any form. Cool?