After their adaptability to the mobiles, social media apps like Facebook have become a rage. On these very social media platforms quite often we get ‘forwarded as received messages ‘ ringing alarm bells as to how real relationships have taken a back seat as people spend more and more time on Facebook, Whatsapp etc. .
This week’s Indispire topic too raises questions linked to the above propagated fears. It says, “In this world so connected with technology, we have actually lost our real connections. Technology has actually surpassed human interactions. Real time conversations became texting and feelings became status updates…. “.
I am reminded of an often repeated theme in twentieth century Bollywood films. The hero would go to a foreign country for studies. When he comes back after twelve years no body is able to recognize him. Sometimes, the story would take a ‘comedy of error’ twist. Now you cannot present such a story to the present skype generation. It is a great loss to the Bollywood script writers.
Barring the above notional loss, I do not think there is any real cause for alarm. Rather three are reasons enough to rejoice.
We can look at it this way. Now we leverage technology to save a lot of time. No more do we travel 20 kms to a railway station and stand in queue for two hours to book that vacation ticket. We do not have to visit a post office to send money or a letter or a telegram. Some even do not go to office to their official job. This in turn gives us more time for creativity, productivity or have real life fun.
Even though my wife is very active on social media, she does not miss her daily quota of enlightening and philosophical face to face conversations with her neighbours. Now there are more topics for discussion. Like, why her dress from Amazon cost more than her neighbour’s.
Jokes apart, now she is able to connect with her daughter in Switzerland on a daily basis almost at no extra cost. Sometimes during the video chat my daughter closes in on the dinner plate and they both cry. In a way it has deepened the feelings. Imagine how we would have interacted ten years back. Maybe once or twice a month a phone call. Or, an international mail. Hardly can our daughter be out of sight, to be out of mind.
There has been no let up in my face to face interactions with my family members, my neighbours and my colleagues, even though I use technology a lot. Now, due to these latest developments in communication technology, I am able to make connection with those with whom I would not have been able to do so if these latest developments were not there. In fact technology has helped me to connect more with real people, far and near.
Thanks to their status updates, now I feel being connected on a daily basis to hundreds of my school/college mates and ex- colleagues. Many long lost friends have been found. Those who are nearby still come physically to express their feelings whenever the occasion demands.
The fear that the virtual world created by technology has taken over the real world is over exaggerated. Especially in the case of India. Or else, every year you would not be seeing larger crowds at public events and holiday places with their friends and families.
In fact technology is providing me less and less excuses to be alone. The virtual reality provided by technology is only a medium. The people I interact with through this medium are real. Does not matter if they are far or near. And sometimes even if I have never met with them.
What about our blogging activity and our real time interactions over so many bloggers from India and outside?
Before the era of computers and BPO did you hear of someone earning a salary in one year, the equivalent of his father’s life time earnings in a private or government service?
Or the senior citizens (and the non-IT guys) attributing all the ills of present Bengaluru, including cost of living and heavy traffic jam, to ‘those IT guys’.
Well, that could be a kind of loss to those attached to the idea of good old Bangalore.