Punit Raja SuryaChandra. Founder CEO of ispace1 (www.ispace1.com), EZ solutions (www.ezmethods.com)
Technology is rapidly becoming an exceedingly vital part of our daily lives. Today, it has totally taken over our lives, we use it for every little thing, and it has without any doubts forever changed the way in which we keep in touch with the rest of the world.
The situation has changed even more dramatically for people who use social media sites on an ongoing basis throughout the day. On the outside, these people appear to be very popular and busy, with a ton of friends and followers.
Ironically, most of them have never and probably will never meet each other in person or even talk on the phone. Still, they interact with many of those people on a daily basis, but only a very few of those are part of their real lives.
Not to mention, many of us choose to share our most personal and intimate details of our private lives on a public platform. This behavior is slowly becoming more of the new way of socializing, diminishing previously held beliefs of privacy, security, and personal space.
One can argue that there are many benefits to doing all this, still, there are many consequences that one must keep in mind. We need to explore the kind of affect this has made on our daily lives and how we interact with one another.
The way we find new people for friendship and relationship has completely changed. Online matchmaking sites have become the new norm of how people find someone for a possible new relationship or even a soul mate.
This has become very common for young professionals who are out of college but not yet settled into a family life. Main reason being, such people have minimal opportunities to meet new people, except at their workplaces, which is mostly professional.
In today’s busy modern life, some people find that the easiest way to meet someone special or even someone to socialize with is from one of the online social networking sites. Ironically, these people sit at home and expect to meet someone interesting without having ever to leave the comfort of their couch.
The way we communicate and converse with others has changed as well. In the process, we forget how we used to have real conversations and interact with others more communicatively.
The fact is that we may even be losing the mettle to bare our powerlessness, the main element to forming deep or meaningful connections. Instead of facing our imperfections or accepting those of others, we are often found guilty of falling for our own online alternative fake egos and obsession over the nearly perfect but hollow personality, what we are forgetting is that one of our most basic need as a human being is to have a real physical human contact and affection with others.
On the other hand, there are some positives too for this technological change. The social media sites have succeeded in creating more openness and diversity, an option to interact differently, to be connected with other like-minded people, to communicate with different viewpoints, and to uncover regularly held taboos to encourage positive social activism.
With typing words on a digital screen as the primary form of communication, the rules of our language have also gone through an abbreviated change. Such abbreviations have become how we have conditioned ourselves to type as little as possible, and they make very little to no sense at all to the older generation.
These text messages may look like a new script or perhaps even a foreign language to some of us who are not hooked on to social media or texting. Or one may argue to call it modern day poetry of its own kind, the one that only the social media savvy can understand.
The amount of time we spend in communication has not really changed, but the way we communicate has changed completely. There is very little real talking in person or over the phone, over a cup of coffee or perhaps a game of chess.
Most of the time, the way we communicate today is done via text messaging, either from our phones or via one of the social media sites. Most of us are guilty of sending a quick text message instead of seeing the person in real or even picking up the phone to have a real conversation with a friend or family member.
The smartphone has given all of us internet in our pockets. Most people have mobile phones these days and ready access to the internet whenever they want, making it easier than ever before to always remain in touch regardless of where they are of what they are doing.
On the downside, the constant access and presence of smartphones have created a somewhat illusion that we are all always available at any time of the day or the night with just a touch of a button. This puts an incredible amount of pressure on us with almost no real alone time when we can be genuinely away from our phones.
It does not matter if we are working from home, or if we are sick or if we are just not in the mood for instant gratification. We can never be genuinely resting or relaxing, at least not in the real sense of the word.
We get insanely worried when a loved one doesn’t reply to our text message or email almost right away. We get stressed about why that person didn’t respond, if they are doing fine, if they are sick, if they are in some trouble, if they are upset with us, etc., etc.
Of course, the real likelihood is, however, that they may belong to the minority of people who have not yet been sucked in by the gyre of the online world. Or perhaps, they have switched off their phone to do something real in their so-called virtually real life.
Things get a little more emotional when it comes to communicating with our significant other. The most interesting fact is that this is not about how we interact with our partner when we are away from each other.
It is perfectly fine to send a text message during the day just to check on our loved ones or ask or tell them something important, and technology has in fact improved the intimacy in our relationship as it has enabled us to be continuously hooked on to each other regardless of where we are at any given point in time. The sad part is when we text our spouse to ask them if they want hot sauce or ketchup, when they are literally sitting in the other corner of the same room or the next room.
This is how technology has crept into the veins of our everyday lives. The key lies in finding a healthy balance between how technology can improve our lives and how it can ruin it.
The tech giants are the ones who created this, and they are the ones who must educate and create awareness about how new technology can make our lives easier than more intricate. How we can create appropriate boundaries that allow the technology effect to be more positive than negative, and ways in which we can improve our existing relationships with ourselves and of course, with others in our life.