Sunday, June 14, 2009

Technology in Communication - Boon or Blessing?

Just a mini break from the whole thing about why left-handers die early not because I don’t have enough woes (I do, trust me, I just got back from a wedding where there were 3 left-handers in one table) but because… I got tired of the subject.

Don’t stone me! At least I’m being honest.

No worries, I’ll finish it, just not now and not immediately.

Anyway, I just finished reading another Jessica Darling book about an hour ago. (YES, THE BOOK I BLEW 50 BUCKS ON). Reading it reminded of something she wrote about technology.

‘You noted how no advance in technology can be a substitute for real interpersonal interaction. I was particularly touched by your admission that being able to get in touch with your long-distance friend twenty-four hours a day is sometimes more of a burden than a blessing because it just makes you wish she were here.’ – Sloppy Firsts, Megan Mccafferty

I hold technology guilty for the break-down of many of the basic living skills. Take for example, cooking. With so many instant dinner-in-a-bag packages, microwave food, INSTANT noodles, we find ourselves pampered and seduced by the mess-free, hassle-free, stress-free food sources. Of course, I really shouldn’t touch on cooking because that’s number 13950897203 on my post-SPM to-do list – TO LEARN HOW TO COOK.

But I digress.

I understand the need of technology for development, for progress. However, I can’t help but notice that it’s due to technology, we’re losing one of the most vital skill ever – face-to-face communication. Like when I was at the wedding lunch, I was listening to one of the guests telling a love story – that is tragic at its best and pathetic at its worst.

I shall briefly summarise.

Boy meets girl through Skype. The communication was mainly done via Skype. Boy and girl fell in love. The courtship was mainly done via Skype. Boy and girl get married after just a few months. Boy and girl are now stuck in unhappy marriage.

Well, I’m sorry but that is as romantic as rabbit droppings.

Unfortunately, that is what’s happening now. We’re losing the ability to carry out a meaningful conversation face to face. We prefer to hide behind emails, online messaging, SMSes, c-boxes spamming, facebook, Twitter, etc.

And you know you’ve got it bad when someone tells a joke and you say, ‘LOL.’

I’m not discrediting technology as a means of communication but sometimes I fear we have relied on it too much that we forget the person talking to actually have a face with his/her own personality and not just a username like ‘CookieMonster59’.

It’s true it’s difficult to imagine a world without the technology as we know it. At times, I do appreciate technology because in some cases, a little contact is better than no contact at all. To that I say, embrace technology but at the same time, remember that technology is a poor substitute to a face-to-face communication.

So keep your conversational skills, they’re a lot more important than the ability to type like a bullet train on MSN.

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