Impatience in Society

It wasn’t really that long ago that we had to deal with dial-up internet speeds. If you put someone on a a 5Mbps connection now, they’ll make a hasty beeline to the router to see what’s broken, before posting a mini-breakdown online about their lack of instant access. Well, they will if they have any connection.

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned patience? If you have any of that most rare of virtues, then please, read on. It will only take a minute…

We don’t like to wait for anything anymore. With faster broadband, instant searches and immediate downloads, patience has become a dying institution. We can no longer take a breath and allow a break in our lives. There’s always something more important we need to have access to, rush to, watch and be part of. Why do we get so wound up if something doesn’t happen immediately for us and what kind of future are we creating for ourselves as a result?

Drew Benvie, founder of communications agency Battenhall, says there are positives to wanting everything immediately. It lets us complain quickly.

‘Social media has led us and our impatience to knock on the doors of brands – with whom we have grievances – that we would normally have been willing to wait in line to bring up in private,’ he said. ‘Now we tweet in public about a faulty product or an unpleasant experience and we expect brands to respond quickly.’

He highlighted the example of British Airways customer Hasan Syed, who complained about the airline’s service in a tweet last month. When he didn’t get an instant response from the company, he went one step further, paying for his tweet to be promoted. The resulting media coverage meant his tweet about BA’s ‘horrendous’ customer service was seen by millions.

We don’t expect to stand in a queue in the online world and this has filtered into our everyday reality. Being so reliant on ‘instant everything’ has affected how we treat one another.

Who hasn’t queued at a coffee shop and observed a customer berate a barista for serving them ‘too slowly’?
Impatience has given us a shorter fuse.

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