Has technology brought us closer? I think so…

I’ve always had an affinity for technology. Not always one be on the cutting edge, but also never one to be WITHOUT technology. Well, except for the time between when I bash my phone and the replacement one arrives, but…..this isn’t about that.
This is about the controversy of whether or not the new technologies available serve to either draw people together or spread us apart. You can probably already guess that I am on the side of “draws people together”. Here are some examples in my life where this is true. At the end, let me know if these things ring true for you, or if you think I am really off my meds again. (Here’s a hint: just the fact that you are READING this supports my theory that technology brings us together; without it, you wouldn’t even know that this blog existed. boom.)
Let’s start with my family:
I regularly chat with my Mom and Dad (in their mid 60’s) via smart phone, email, GoogleChat, and Skype. They travel back and forth from Upstate NY to Southern Florida and they use their phones to check in with us along their way. Several years ago they were making the trip via sailboat and would send us messages with their LAT/LON digits. The kids and I would jump on the web at home and plot their progress. Sometimes they would just give a landmark reference to see if we could figure out where they were. It was great. Now that they just travel by car, we still chat while they are en route; it gives them someone else to talk to along the way.
My sister has been slow to jump on the tech bandwagon, but she and i have been using cell phones and text messages to keep in touch for many years. Within the past year she’s purchased an iPhone and Kindle, and uses an iPad in her job as a Speech Pathologist. We routinely play games back and forth, and often send each other pictures and videos of our kids doing crazy and cute kid things. We each know that no matter where we are, we’re not much more than a few keystrokes away. A few years ago she and I were hiking a portion of the Long Trail in Vermont when she slipped, fell, and broke her wrist. Using my cell phone we were able to call for a ride to meet us at the next trail head rather than having to hike all the way into town to use a land line to get a ride to the hospital. Hooray, technology!
My wife, too, is a bit reluctant to get on the technology-brings-us-closer bandwagon. She’ll tell you that kids spending too much time staring down at their phones and not talking to people who are actually IN the room is a bad thing (i agree, actually…). She does, though, own a smartphone, and is a VERY ruthless competitor with FourSquare. She cracks me up with it sometimes…
Our oldest son (20) has never been far from technology since about 12. He fell in LOVE with iTunes, iPhones, his MacBook, etc. He’s very good with the tech stuff, and has made friends from all around the world through his online connections. He used an online campaign to try to raise money for a trip to Thailand, and stays in close touch with us and his Aunts, Uncles, cousins, etc. through his use of tech.
Our youngest (7) has ALWAYS been around technology, and often helps us try out new stuff. Just the other day he saw me playing a game on my phone. It was a game that I had installed because I thought he might like it. After seeing the screen, he said, “oh, you finally got that game? i’ve had it on mom’s phone for about 2 months.” #Ownedbymy7yearold.
Then there’s The FaceBook:
Aside from the high school reunion connections, I have been able to locate long lost friends from summer camps, college, and the military on that thing. I’ve joined several fitness minded groups (hello, #FitFluential !), some parenting groups, and other hobby type groups online. I try to keep my online persona separate from my work persona, but sometimes that line gets blurred (and i’m learning that this is OK).
Let’s not forget The Twitter:
Hands down my favourtie. I like the way I am restricted to 140 characters; it helps me think about what I have to say and what is the most concise way to say it. I have made many meaningful connections via Twitter and have had the pleasure of meeting some of those people in real life. Knowing them has enriched my life and helped to deepen my appreciation for what I have and what I have to share. I’ve also gained a more broad sense of how other people think and operate which has helped me in my own personal interactions and communication.
To help keep myself accountable, I use apps like DailyMile, MyFitnessPal, and Runkeeper almost daily. People on there help encourage each other, keep each other motivated, and act as a sounding board for new training ideas, etc. This past winter I was introduced to a new running series through FB by a person who I’d become friends with online but had never met in person. We participated in several of the races together (she’s HELLA faster than I am), and exchange encouraging stories and connections online still. Without the use of technology, I’d never have been standing in the dark, shivering in my running gear at 0645 several mornings this past winter. Can’t wait for next season!
But the BEST way that technology has helped to bring me closer to another person is that my wife (who was my high school sweetheart back in 1986) found me online in 2003. As we got back together and exchanged stories about our lives, we discovered that there was a weekend when she and I were at the SAME BEACH in Maine at the SAME TIME, but didn’t know it. Without the use of technology and the internet, we may have gone our whole lives without knowing that, as we’d likely never have gotten together.
I believe that the prudent use of available technologies has such tremendous potential to bring people close together. It works for me every day.
What say you?

3 Comments

  1. Ooooh, you scored big meeting your wife via technology and with spousal points for posting about it so nicely. And if I do the math (help me dear calculator on my phone and desktop) you have parents who are 60ish, a 20 year old son, which leaves you as one young dad dude when you had son numero uno. As for son #2, the seven year old, he owned you big time on the game gig. Instagram moment!

    • oldest is a step son, but his mom is a year younger than i. i’m 44…feel OLDER most days, but…that’ll happen…

  2. Still not so sure what’s so “smart” about my dumb phone, but…. :). I must admit that there have been times when exploring all that my iPad could do that I wished the battery didn’t last so dang long. It can be addicting….
    Love ya!!
    Web

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