Technology: make or break?

Burning question in my mind.

Does technology, keep people together? Or does it pull them apart.

Here are 2 scenarios.

scenario A

A father goes overseas to work. With the “invention” of 3G, he is able to make calls to his family using a data plan, with the help of Viber, an application for the iPhone. Applications like FaceTime is also used, and he is able to look at his family while speaking to them.

scenario B

X and Z used to meet regularly for supper, because it was their only way of communication, besides talking on the phone. With technology, they now can message each other, update each other on their whereabouts (foursquare), random bits of information (twitter), and send each other pictures immediately after taking them (whatsapp, bbm, sms). They no longer see the need to meet as they are able to update each other on their lives. Messaging each other becomes a weekly affair, or as and when they are free to text.

How does this work then? This thing, this.. seemingly intangible thing, otherwise known as technology. Why I say it’s intangible? Sure, you can hold a phone, carry your laptop, use a satellite.. but how does the information get transmitted? How does your word document get sent to another person?

Weirdly, this technology may just be the thing that pulls people apart. How many of you have friends who got dumped over a text message, or a phone call? What happened to being sincere in whatever you do? Or wishing the person a happy birthday over a text?

While sending text messages and making phone calls are good, does it help create an imaginary closeness with that particular person? You may be able to talk on the phone all day, but it’s really different from meeting the person, in flash, having a conversation.

It’s been said that only 7% of what is said in a dialogue is verbal content (Booth 2008). The rest of our message lies in the way we act. Our tone, facial expression, the way we sit.

In this way then, how do we put our emotions into text, or pictures? Sure, we have emoticons to help, but do they accurately reflect our feelings? Not everything can be represented with emoticons. I, for one, prefer meeting with my friends, because friendship is important, and technology just cannot replace the physical contact.

I used to joke with my friends. With technology, we would not need to meet. We used to meet up weekly for a game of Mahjong, where they would head to my place and stay for the night. However, with Viwawa, an internet portal which has other games, along with Mahjong, we may just agree for a time to meet up online, after all, we can always chat in viwawa, and if we want to look at each other, there’s always group chat in Skype!

Look at this post. How many applications and services have I listed? Of these, how many of them do you use to keep in touch with your family and friends? Does it act as a substitute, or does it aid your relationship?

That said, it is up to each individual to decide how they want to use the technology presented to them. You can use it as the tool for social interaction, or, you can use it as a tool to aid you in keeping close contact with your friends. (=

What’s your take on this?

Reference

Booth, C. W, 2008, It is What You Say, Not The Way You Say It, viewed 10 May 2011, < http://www.thefaithfulword.org/whatyousay.html&gt;.

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5 responses to “Technology: make or break?

  1. What will I ever do without whatsapp, msn, facebook and twitter (: These are the ones that I use most frequently. Thank goodness for the advancement in technology!

  2. Hi Charmaine,

    I think whether technology brings people closer together or apart depends on the person using the technology. Technology is merely a tool. How a person utilises this tool will decide the outcome: a tighter relationship, a distant one, or a false sense of closeness.

    For me, I use emails, msn, text messages, and occasionally facebook to stay in touch with my friends. Close friends (just a handful). I do not know if these technology bring us closer together but I am quite sure it helps to maintain our relationship.

    Unlike me, there are people who uses such technology for other purposes. Like meeting new people (online), being updated with everyone’s life (facebook and twitter) [or rather just being a kpo], or just to prevent being forgotten (saying happy birthday once a year will remind people of your existence).

    Regardless of the uses, I think the more important issue about the advancement of technology is the problem of social isolation. Are people becoming more socially awkward with most of their time spent in the cyber world? How will this affect our society in the future?

    • hey!

      Yup you’re on the same page as me then, it’s how humans utilise the tools we made/are given.. I think people pretty much use the same tools for social networking.. like msn and text messaging..

      I love the birthday function thing on facebook! Even though you’re not best buds with the person, sometimes you just wanna wish them a happy birthday to show that you’ve not forgotten them and that you care..

      Also, I love the point you made. I should have talked more about it. The impact it has on people, making them socially awkward… Actually I failed to think about that in depth.. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Pingback: uses of technology | Simply CHARming

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