At 01:00 hrs on 3rd August I received an e-card in my gmail inbox. It was a wonderful card from one of my best friend. It did two things, firstly made me realize that it was the first Sunday of August – so that means it was the “Friendship Day”. Some people puts it down labeling it as a marketing gimmick, I won’t contest their stand, however I don’t have any problems with such celebrations till the point it brings a smile on your friend like it did for me. Secondly, it spurred few thoughts. Isn’t technology playing a big role in helping us maintain relationships of different types, friendship being one of them? Isn’t technology bridging the gap, both physical and emotional?
Yes it is!! Just look around yourself, you would realize what it means. Actually the problem is that we have become so used to some of these technologies that we fail to appreciate the positive impact it leaves in our lives. Mobile technology would lead the pack in this regard without much competition from other communication technologies. You are some thousands of miles away from your friend? It doesn’t matter, you can reach him/her with just a few button press. And there you are conversing with your friend. Isn’t it amazing? No! Ask people from non-mobile era who might have starved to hear the voice of their favorite friend who was away from them.
Over the years of human evolution, we have moved away from one place to another for economic development. The scenario is no different today, however the only major difference is the availability of communication technologies that can keep us connected no matter where we are and what we are doing. Be it the mobile or be it the chat rooms, you can reach your friend in a tinkle.
Then think about the many social network portals like Orkut, Facebook, etc. It feels great when you find a friend in these networks after a long time of isolation. I think everyone can identify with the excitement that it generates when you find your best friend in school through these networks, a friend who was part and parcel of your daily life once upon a time. You can not only chat with them, you can also see their snaps uploaded to these forums. All these might sound very obvious to us being so accustomed with these technology gifts, but the fact is that they do play a very significant role in helping friends to keep in touch with each other.
These not only help keep old friendships going, but also make new friends.
Then think about the way now we can send gifts, greetings etc to friends. Once you decide to send a greeting it is just a matter of seconds by when your e-card would be in their mailboxes. Wonderful!!
So technology definitely is bridging the gaps. But who created them in the first place? Isn’t it the same gentleman? Yes it is Mr Technology!! May be not the same technologies which are bridging the gaps, but some relative of them. The recent developments are the biggest reasons which makes us move away from the near and dear ones and takes us to places far apart to fulfill our economic needs.
So then where do we stand? What is the role of technology? We can view it as a continuous tussle between the bridgers (technology that bridges the gap) and widners (technologies that widens the gaps). Whether we stay human and among friends with all our emotional flows ebbing as strongly as ever? Or whether we become part of the machine world and turn into machines ourselves? The answer seems to lie in the result of the tussle between the bridgers and the widners. Although I, with all my heart, would pray for bridgers to win, but only time will tell who wins and who looses. Till then wish all of you a belated very happy friendship day!!!