Technology and the “I-want-it-now” Audience

Graphic depicting the choice of now versus later

At the same time technology evolves to meet the new demands of the modern society, it facilitates the creation of yet newer demands.  It is a two-way cycle that both feeds on and promotes instant gratification.  In the communication industry, one of the effects of this process is that society’s expectations of mass media have become increasingly immediacy oriented.  Long gone are the days when most people would wait for the TV or radio newscast to start, the newspaper to be delivered, or the new volume of their favorite magazines to be issued to catch up with what is going on in the world.  The same technology advancements that brought us the Internet, dynamic web content, social media, and mobile devices, created a society that constantly seeks instant gratification; a society that instead of waiting for the newspaper to be delivered, turns to social media, for example, to see the latest news.

While taking advantage of newer technologies to have instant gratification is not necessarily a bad thing—I for one do it all the time—caution should be exercised.  Having an I-want-it-now attitude may be fine on social media, where data is transmitted and information is spread at fast speeds, but taking that kind of behavior to real-life situations may have undesirable effects.  For example, while the success of an organization’s blogger can be quickly measured based on the comments her audience leaves under her articles, the likes she receives, the amount of times her posts are shared, etc., a corporative recognition, such as a bonus, a promotion, or a salary increase based on her success may still take some extra time to happen due to other processes that are not as immediate as digital interactions, such as budget review, salary analysis, etc.

“On an emotional level, posting a Facebook status, a tweet, or an Instagram photo feeds on and reinforces our need for instant approving feedback. Becoming too used to instant gratification in the virtual world can lead to poor choices and major frustrations in the real world.”

–Liz Soltan

Our digital interactions—on social media, for example—contribute to an exacerbation of the temptation to seek short-term solutions.  Immediate digital interactions on social media through tweets, shares, +1s, likes, pins, comments, etc. generate immediate data that can be useful for mass media professionals to measure the success of their strategies and plan for future communications.  However, by its nature, such data is short-term.  Therefore, when using it, these professionals must be careful not to identify objectives and develop strategies that are equally short-term as a result (Weigel, 2013).

Additionally, as society’s desire for instant gratification increases, its focus tend to shift from the quality of communication to efficiency; that is to say, for example, that people nowadays are more inclined to forgive poor writing of messages from media organizations than in the past, as long as the messages keep coming, and keep coming fast.  Technology and modern communication devices, combined with the current instant gratification tendency of audiences, created a gap, in which the need for increasingly faster communication has resulted not only in ineffective communication, but also in changes in language and culture deriving from technological advances (McFarlane, 2010).  For example, mobile technology and social media helped create a culture in which we are constantly connected to other individuals as well as organizations.  Maintaining the communication flow between all these relationships often takes a toll on quality.  This becomes more evident when we start to use abbreviations in our messages, whether they are text messages or e-mails, in order to make the communication process faster.

Consider this:

Have you ever started a chat with a friend on Facebook and, when you least expected, you were trying to manage five other chat windows simultaneously?  Did you use abbreviations in those chats?

Independently of the potential technology advancements might have to turn us into immediacy-demanding monsters who also do not communicate well, it is still in our power to make the best use of technology while caring for our own behavior and proper use of language.  We can still take advantage of the Internet, mobile devices, social media, etc. without losing touch with our own essence, standards, and command of our language skills.

Learn more:

Watch this TEDx Talk by nationally recognized Internet Safety expert, speaker, and author, Jesse Weinberger, in which she discusses how the instant gratification that technology provides can become dangerous for children.


McFarlane, D. A. (2010). Social Communication in a Technology-Driven Society: A Philosophical Exploration of Factor-Impacts and Consequences. American Communication Journal, 12(1), 1-14.

Soltan, L. (2016). Technology and expectation of instant gratification. Retrieved from

TEDx [TEDx Talks]. (2014). The danger of instant gratification | Jesse Weinberger | TEDxUrsulineCollege [Video file]. Retrieved from

Weigel, M. (2013). The conflict between digital immediacy and effectiveness. Retrieved from

So Many Ways, So Little Time

Image of cover of Miquel Brown's album So Many Men So Little Time.
Cover of Miquel Brown’s album So Many Men So Little Time.

Miquel Brown probably never thought one of her most famous songs would inspire a grad student to write a blog post about the work of communicators.  For the millennials reading this post, Miquel Brown is a Canadian actress and singer who recorded So Many Men, So Little Time in… wait, what?  Oh, you have already found that out on your Wikiwand app.  Ok, you beat me.  Such is life.  Technology has introduced multitudes of platforms on which we can interact, learn things, share knowledge, etc. And that is a great thing!  We like to have new digital communication options to explore, don’t we?  If you are not sure, ask a millennial!  Whether or not you like to have all these options, the truth is that they are out there for everyone to use.  The other side of the coin is that as our number of choices become bigger, the time professional communicators have to reach their audience seems to be getting smaller.  Not only must communicators today work faster than ever to beat the competition, they also must be able to cover a myriad of platforms that are now available for digital communication.  Today’s communicators need to be good at the traditional skills they already have, but also continually use them in combination with new skills they need to learn as technology brings yet newer tools to work with.  For example, as Brian Reid of W2O Group explained in an article, even though communicators nowadays still need to have excellent reading and writing skills, the increasingly electronic and interactive nature of professional communications—think social networks—requires them to also strive to have skills in programming, engaging audiences though social media, creating and sharing content as events are still happening, and, perhaps most importantly, coming across as a human being with a sense of humor (Reid, 2012).

Image of person in the middle of a multitude of apps to choose from.All that said, how might communicators train themselves to keep up with so many skills to learn, things to consider, and platforms to use?  Well, many just don’t, and while this is fine—many communicators are not necessarily trying to be everywhere—if they are performing in a very competitive field, trying to increase online presence, stand out, or simply reach a wider audience, they must make sure their messages are loud and clear everywhere their target audience might happen to be; again, think social networks.  Of course, that includes a lot of learning the peculiarities of each social media platform.  I once thought all social networks basically worked the same way but, even though I still do not consider myself ahead of the game in that arena, I can at least now tell you with confidence, trust me, they don’t.  Therefore, in their training, modern communicators must learn the important characteristics of each platform that affect how they should write for it, such as what tone to use, how many characters, etc.  Once they learn all the peculiarities, if they find that there is not much time left to actually transmit their messages, they can help themselves by learning about tools that can help save time when managing multiple social media platforms, such as social media management apps (Moreau, 2016).  There are many of these apps available to assist communicators in taking their online presence to the next level and, Elise Moreau, who is a professional editor, copywriter, and blogger compiled a list of 10 of the best of these apps available today.  You can check the list for yourself by clicking the link below.  Now, go get social!

Check out Elise Moreau’s list of 10 of the best social media management apps available today: Best Social Media Management Applications


Moreau, E. (2016). Best social media management applications. Retrieved from

Reid, B. (2012). The 10 skills modern communicators have (or need to get). Retrieved from