Face to Face

Error message

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in load_weighted_ads() (line 1115 of /home/canadianmenno/public_html/sites/all/modules/weighted_ads/weighted_ads.module).

Blogs

August 22, 2010

Let’s face it, we all use tech­nol­ogy. The fact that we’re read­ing from oth­ers on a blog is evi­dence to that fact. Jeanette and I use email as our pri­mary com­mu­ni­ca­tion method. It’s quick. It allows peo­ple to respond on their own time. And it doesn’t inter­rupt life the way a phone (espe­cially a cell phone) does. As we’re get­ting used to all this tech­nol­ogy, many peo­ple of older gen­er­a­tions (mine included) are opposed to some of the move­ments among the younger crowd. Tex­ting, face­book­ing, etc. They scare us. “It’ll reduce face-to-face inter­ac­tion,” we say. “They’ll spend all their time in front of a screen,” we add. And it’s prob­a­bly true — we’re spend­ing more and more time in front of screens. “We didn’t spend that much time watch­ing TV,” some would say. But the plethora of con­tent on TV and the myr­iad of infor­ma­tion avail­able on the inter­net really makes that point irrel­e­vant. There wasn’t all that much to see on TV back then. Now there is. And at first the inter­net wasn’t all that great either. Now it is.

And now those con­ve­niences can fit in our pockets.

I have no doubt that the level of face-to-face inter­ac­tions has gone down over the past fifty years. But the other day I had a thought — when the phone was intro­duced, what were the ini­tial reac­tions? I can’t know for sure, but I can ven­ture a guess: “It’ll be a time-saver,” would say the opti­mists. “It’ll limit inter­ac­tion,” would say the pes­simists. I have no doubt it did both. With each tech­no­log­i­cal shift comes a back­lash. From face-to-face we went to phones. Before that we had mail. Each time we lose a dimen­sion of the con­ver­sa­tion. With phone we lost the facial expres­sions. With let­ters we lost the tones, pitch, and empha­sis of the human voice. With our cur­rent tech­nol­ogy, we still lack the nec­es­sary dimen­sions to have a full con­ver­sa­tion. Any­one try­ing to sort a prob­lem out through email knows what I’m talk­ing about.

At the same time, the phone and let­ter did not destroy human inter­ac­tion. Email cer­tainly hasn’t. Face­book won’t. Tex­ting is inca­pable. We don’t need to be so afraid of these tran­si­tions. Peo­ple will always need human inter­ac­tion. No screen can replace that. The changes in tech­nol­ogy are com­ing at a faster rate, and at some point we’ll all find our­selves a lit­tle behind the curve. If that’s the case, don’t fret! Human inter­ac­tions will always rely on face-to-face relationships.

Tak­ing Heart,

Paul Loewen

Share this page:

Add new comment

Canadian Mennonite invites comments and encourages constructive discussion about our content. Actual full names (first and last) are required. Comments are moderated and may be edited. They will not appear online until approved and will be posted during business hours. Some comments may be reproduced in print.