Everyday, I see communication technology used to meet various emotional needs. Technology has, in a lot of ways, torn us apart. As communities; as friends; and even as individuals: 21st Century technology most certainly has its pitfalls as we sometimes become more isolated than ever before.
Paradoxically, our modern technology can indeed bring us closer together in ways which at one time were unfathomable.
It’s a weapon at times: avenues to attack others, particularly when we do not know them and the consequences are minor, why not be a monster on social media? Creating virtual wars within comment threads just to prove we are more educated or our opinion is correct or someone from somewhere doesn’t know the difference between “there” and “their” and therefore we are clearly above them…
There are the people who spend their entire lives living and breathing in and on and for social media platforms to find their self-worth: Their spirit depends upon how many ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ and comments they receive. They think, what if no one sees what I have to say? They are afraid of being left out; they are scared of not fitting in; they are waiting, always waiting, for that validation of “You are loved and you are worthy” but they are seeking something of great magnitude in something so fickle and void.
There are still others who are so enmeshed within the technology, that they never have to face reality. Perhaps their job is entirely online, and therefore face-to-face contact is so minimal it’s foreign. Perhaps the fear and dread of any social connection is so paralyzing that a person devotes nearly all their time to living in a fantasy of virtual reality of online gaming. For some, and for various reasons, it means a serious addiction to online pornography in all of its shapes and forms.
Take a moment to consider how many people other than yourself come and go through your thoughts each day… Who is it you are thinking about? Do they know you’re thinking of them? Do they know how much you love them, or how grateful you are to have them as part of your life? We have myriad incredible resources at our disposal to communicate LOVE with others, and yet still we use it to hate, to destroy reputations, to hide ourselves away from the world… As the Black Eyed Peas wrote (eons ago, now) : “Where’s the love yo?”
As soon as the thought of someone comes passes by, I like to pull out my phone and call them, or send them a simple text saying, “I’m thinking of you”, or a Facebook message…I can even use my Smart Phone to remind me to contact someone later, if I am busy at that moment.
I once wrote (and re-posted it the other day) “You are someone’s miracle.” I know because the people in my life -the real, live, tangible people- have been miracles to me, time and time again. The most interesting point about this, to me, is that these real, live, tangible peoples’ miracles often come via 21st century technology.
I remember once, roughly a decade ago, I was talking with an elderly lady at a bus stop. I’ll never forget her saying, “I think the world changed the most when we first got electricity in our homes.” I was floored. And it has stuck by me all these days since… Wow.
Over my 30 years on this earth, I have watched technology advance astoundingly. I’ve gotten to be other peoples’ miracles by calling at the right moment; or by responding to a post which no one else did. Likewise, people have been my miracle through this sort of technology, time and time again.
I guess my point here, after all is said, is this:
SEND the text; PM that friend you haven’t seen around in a while; ANSWER the phone call from the phone number you don’t recognize, and while you’re at it: wish them a great day! We all know how everlasting and powerful words can be (remember that cruel thing that kid said to you in elementary school?), so please don’t waste them on internet battles that don’t need to be fought; direct them toward building connection; relationship; and above all, to love.
Emily Simone Lukaszek