Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of our everyday lives. We use it for almost everything and it has undoubtedly changed the way in which we interact with other people. Those of us that use social media sites such as Facebook, can appear to be very popular indeed, seeming to have lots of friends & followers, many of whom we have never met but interact with daily, but few of which we know intimately and see in our physical lives.
At the same time, an increasing number of us chose to share ever more personal details of our private lives with all of them, and it’s becoming more of the norm to do so; blurring previously commonly held boundaries of privacy, personal space & experience. While there are many positives to this, there are also consequences to bear in mind. We’re interested in exploring what kind of an impact this has on our day-to-day lives and interactions with one another.
Internet dating sites have become a huge thing in recent years, especially with the over 25 age group. In busy modern life, some people find it is the best way to meet the ‘right’ people and socialise, and the irony is of course that we sit at home trying to meet these new people, maybe even that special person, without even leaving the comfort of our sofa.
Are we are forgetting how to have a real conversation, interact properly, even communicate, and losing the courage to bare our vulnerability – a key component to developing meaningful, human connections? Rather than confront our own imperfections and embrace those of others, we can be guilty of falling in love with our own devised online alter egos and obsessing over the perfect, but hollow, fantasy of our unfaltering avatar-lovers.
We forget that as members of the animal kingdom (be it at the top of the food chain), on a physiological level, we all have a need for physical human contact and affection – even the islands among us. We can also be better in person than our 2D techno counter parts.
On another level, the advent of social media sites can encourage more openness and diversity, an opportunity to communicate in a different way, to connected with like-minded others, come into contact with different perspectives, expose commonly held taboos as well as facilitate positive social activism.
Rule Of The Word
With typing as the main form of communication, we can often slip back to abbreviations (especially if you suffer RSI) – LOL, ROFL, BFF and plenty more that may make very little sense to an older generation. And, of course, these are not just confined to the Internet – people can have whole text conversations that look like some form of foreign language to the uninitiated! One could say a modern day poem of sorts.
We Don’t Talk Anymore
Well that’s not strictly true – we do, but how many of us are guilty of sending a quick text instead of picking up the phone to have a conversation with a loved one? And that only after a social status update to all our superficially ‘devoted followers’? Most people have mobiles these days and access to the internet, which makes it easier than ever before to keep in touch regardless of geographical location. On the other hand, the ever presence and convenience of mobile phones creates the illusion that we are all always available at the touch of a button and puts on an increasing pressure that we should be. We can all work from home these days, so even if we’re sick, we can still on one level be ‘resting’, sheltered from the cold. Of course, someone doesn’t get back to our email or text straight away we worry – where are they? Why haven’t they answered? Is there a problem? The likelihood is, however, with those that haven’t got sucked into the votex of the digital world, that they’ve put their phone down to go and do something in ‘real life’.
Hello Over There
Perhaps the most shocking thing some of us are guilty of is how we chat with our significant others. We are not talking about the quick text you send them at work to check their day is okay or remind them they have an appointment, in which technology can enhance our relationships, but rather when you text them to ask if they want a cup of tea and they are just across the room! It seems like a sad state of affairs.
At MEEM we love technology – which is why we developed our own! In a similar way we think that the key thing is to find a personal healthy balance. By developing an awareness about how new technologies can and are impact our work and home life, and personal relationships, we are better equipped to create new, relevant boundaries which allows that impact to be positive rather than negative, and a way to enhance the existing relationships we have with ourselves and others.
While we thank you for reading this blog tonight, why not put your phone down, connect it to your MEEM cable to charge it and complete a data back-up of all the photos of your loved ones and family, and use that time to connect to the people in your life, without your phone in hand.
But before you do – we’re keen to hear your voices. Please share your experience about the impact technology has had in your life in a comment below.