Whether we like it or not, we’re hooked on technology. Whereas not that many years ago, cell phones, laptops, desktops and tablets were more likely to be found in science fiction novels than in our homes, we’ve come to not only like technology, but rely on it.
However, is all this technology at our fingertips bringing us close or adding distance to one another?
The fact that today we take for granted that we can comfortably in our living rooms or in our offices and speak to someone on the side of the world through Skype or another webcam program is nothing less than amazing. Yet, we take it for granted. We can communicate in real time, send documents, videos, recordings, almost anything we want to anyone anywhere, and we do it as a matter of course and don’t give it a second thought.
One would think that our ability to communicate with others globally would bring the world closer together. It wasn’t that long ago that we would actually have to get in a car or a plane and travel to another city, state or country for a face to face meeting. It also wasn’t that long ago that we had to use the U.S. mail or pay a messenger service to send a document across town. Today, that is solved with the simple PDF.
But is the fact that we can communicate with anyone instantly making the world a smaller place, or a larger place? One would think that technology makes the world smaller and more intimate for obvious reasons. Today if we want to talk to a relative in China or Europe or Australia, we can do it any time, and usually for free on the internet.
But at the same time, these technological tools that we have at our disposal make it almost unnecessary to visit one another, sit down at a table and have a meeting or go for a walk together. Why go to the trouble of having lunch with someone when a simple text message can accomplish the same thing?
I submit that technology is a two-edge sword. Yes, we are addicted. When our hard drives crash, we panic, and rightfully so. Not only do we fear losing what is near, dear and important in our lives, we also now fear not being able to go on Facebook, or do email or video chat. We feel cut off from our friends, family and business associates.
How sad that we rely on gigabytes instead of a telephone. How sad that we see each other through words on tiny screens instead of face to face. Yes, technology is quick, but does it really take the place of a cup of coffee with a family member or friend? Hopefully not.
The key is to use technology, as we all do, but not lose sight of the personal touch that really keeps us in touch with each other. All of us would do well to put down the keyboard or handheld device once in a while and have a conversation in person.
Yes, a revolutionary thought.