Is there still a thing called “a real connection” nowadays? With communication just a click away, one would guess a face-to-face conversation is no longer needed.
Let’s not fool ourselves by saying online communication is better, though. With the onset of technology, it seems that the world can’t function without it anymore. Given that millennials are finding their way up the ladder to be heard directly by whoever is at the top, there is no doubt that technology has played a tremendous role in transforming our professional lives.
Personally, I think the most basic and obvious thing technology has blessed us with is CONVENIENCE.
- Communicate with loved ones located in a different country
- Travel around the world
- Do work in a more organized manner
- Access information for research or school
- Process payments and documents
- Check the news and be updated
- Look for a job
- Shop without going to the mall
- Access better education
- And the list goes on and on… (it could be just about anything!)
Along the way, it’s not only giving people the convenience to do something but it has also improved our efficiency and effectiveness. But still, given all of those advantages, I guess somewhere in transit something gets lost.
Let’s take communication for instance. Working with people around the world is definitely beneficial. One could immediately learn about another person’s culture without actually travelling. A person can easily learn another language, maybe find greener pastures (or a better job), or find their true love by just staying online.
But, the bigger question is, did we really acquire/gain what we wanted? Culture for one cannot be taught online. It is something learned through doing or feeling when one is exposed to the actual situation. Seeing a picture online of healthy green grass with cows grazing is totally different from actually walking on that grass barefoot and observing a cow grazing up close. You get the point, right? Culture is something you experience.
Though a foreign language may be learned from a book, it is the intonation, pronunciation, and sentence construction that is hard to master when the dialect is not commonly heard or used on a daily basis. Talking to the locals will certainly help, compared to just reading a foreign language dictionary.
Finding that perfect mate and building a relationship takes time. Usually, people who do online dating end up meeting them in person to verify any relationship built online. Even working relations dictate that at some point, people still come together to celebrate victories, friendship or any kind of event.
Based on an article I’ve read, published by the Pip, online communication still lacks that feeling that actually provides happiness and closeness. That simple dose of serotonin and oxytocin just seems to be missing in the equation when communication is done online — which could also explain why artificial intelligence is far from replacing a human being.
Online communication, calls and text messaging are simply digital shortcuts. There is only a limited amount of emotion attached to an online exchange compared to a face-to-face conversation. As much as technology has found a way to make life easier, I think finding a balance to its pros and cons is still necessary to live a more fulfilled life.
It is a bit ironic to push for face-to-face conversations while working in a software development company. I hope the awareness of the importance of these interactions is enough to encourage people to talk to the rest of the team rather than using any type of digital shortcut.