I’m going to play devil’s advocate on the technology-separates-us argument. It’s a complex issue, and like all complex issues, there is another side to the equation.
So let’s consider the ways that technology can be a huge plus and can strengthen relationships. Skype and Facetime are huuugggeelly positive technological advances! Sure, it’s nice to talk to someone face-to-face instead of through an anonymous, disembodied telephone. But when you are long distance from a loved one and you can actually see them while you talk to them in real-time, it makes all the difference in the world. While my son is far away at college and my sweetheart goes on long business trips, Skype and Facetime are life- and sanity-savers (and they’re free!).
I could stop there because that benefit alone is ridiculous. But the group video call technology such as Google Hangout is also so incredibly cool. Not only does Hangout make group calls so much more fun and interactive when video is added, the Special Effects feature had our team in stitches for literally 15 minutes the first time we used it. Even now, when I put the virtual cat mask and clown hat on during a meeting, it simply lightens my mood. Hangout is free too!
I won’t stop there either. Say what you will about texting, but having emoticon apps like the free Emoji app takes texting to a new level. While celebrating good news by text, my verbal response might’ve been: oh that’s so great! Congratulations… and…. uhhh…. Emoji allows us to send a host of emoticons that express celebration through fireworks, clapping hands, big smiles, flowers, horns blaring, and so forth. Those of us with a limited emotional range can really get a lot of mileage out of emoticons.
And then there’s Facebook. Also free. You know, you don’t have to use Facebook obsessively if you don’t want to, so the bad rap, though not entirely unwarranted, is also completely under your control. You can simply use it for whatever enjoyment you might choose to derive from it. I love to see pictures of my friends, even if we may never really see each other or talk on the phone. Yes, the photos are usually like putting forward one’s best foot (figuratively speaking) and may not reflect reality, but who cares? A great picture fills me with positive emotion. Ditto with uplifiting messages; I just happen to like that stuff. And I get to disseminate my blog there too. What’s not to like?
So don’t be grumpy about technology. Find the features you enjoy and use them shamelessly! They don’t have to replace your real life relationships, they can be used to enhance them instead. So reach out to a loved one any way you can, even if it must be virtually.