It reminds me of an old Cliff Richard song but there’s a whole lot more to it, in relation to the social relationships we lead today. We seriously don’t talk anymore, we go on social media. Our opinions are shared and shaped by Twitter – our conversations with our friends are on Facebook. Now Facebook is great and I absolutely love it because it gives me the opportunity to share information with my friends, many of whom I haven’s seen in years and found never have found if not for the Facebook. And the sheer power of social media can be exhilarating. But in the process , we have sacrificed the beautiful art of writing letters and communicating with people face to face. Sometimes I wonder whether it is worth it.
Technology is wonderful and allows us to engage with others in more ways than could be imagined. Our opinions can be shared, our pictures uploaded instantly as it happens, can be viewed by friends and commented on. We no longer need to show albums or photos to friends and relatives who visit. We can share it all. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had a photo developed. The down side is you don’t have any photos to share in print, they are all on the iPhoto stream!
Whether in building a business, a community or a family, meeting someone face to face and exchanging ideas cannot beat any tech related system, whether via social media or the web. The face to face encounter can generate new relationships, give opportunities to touch and transform lives and ensure that as humans, we can and keep the connections that are important. Sharing a cup of tea or coffee, engaging in conversation – these simple but profound things make relationships special. Especially for those of an older generation, nothing brightens up their day and renews their hopes in life than visiting them in person. No amount of gifts or e mails can satisfy the longing in the human heart for good company – in person and not on Skype.
We are developing relationships with devices that could reach dangerous proportions, the experts warn. The other day, I saw on the web a warning from none less than the Silicon Valley Czars who would naturally want us to spend all our time entangled in our devices. Disconnect once in a way from your devices and social media, it said ; in other words, try going outside and watching a sunset instead of checking status on FB.
Technology is wonderful and has empowered individuals like never before to engage with the world in ways we couldn’t imagine in the years gone by. I can connect with anyone in the world at a mere mouse click and that empowers me as an individual to make my opinion known m make purchases and participate in whatever that’s going on in the world without leaving my chair. But does that make me an active member of my community, in my family, in my office?
Inter-personal skills and relationships make the world go around. We benefit from the conversations we have with our spouses, our colleagues, our children, our friends and our parents. Sometimes a stranger can turn into a lifelong friend. Sometimes a look or one word is enough to seal relationships. We cannot expect technology to do all the connecting for us.
We must make an effort to spend time away from our devices and spend time with the people around us. We need to have a balance between using technology and meeting and talking with people. More importantly, we need to impress upon the next generation who were born wired, to talk and connect human to human and not via devices. Someday, they would benefit.