In Family, Relationships on March 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Connection.  What a powerful word.  Imagine if it were used more frequently between individuals.  It seems that as a society, we have found a way to have less connection amongst each other even though we have some of the most state-of-the art technology that even George Jetson couldn’t have dreamt.  We have the ability to connect with people with the touch of a button; talk with people face-to-face while being positioned on opposing sides of the world; or even send a thought to the world by a communication that only a bird was known to do.  We have the technological ability to connect in more ways than we ever imagined yet we are the most disconnected society that I have yet to witness.  And, while I’m not even close to being old enough to have “seen it all”, as a GenX-er, I have been a part of a generation that has evolved with the rapid change of time and tech.  Yes, we are more disconnected today than twenty years ago and the gap is seeming to widen every day.

So what’s driving this?  What is causing the disconnect when we have the means to connect and even re-connect?  Remember when I spoke about common bonds and difference barriers?  I believe that the tools we have inherited from the genius minds of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, Jack Dorsey, et. al. , and the like have ultimately allowed us to bury ourselves in the corners of our worlds and merely connect solely through devices.  And, through our devices, not only do we disconnect from many human attributes such as eye contact, touch, presence, environment, we disconnect from the most human aspect of all – common bonds.  With our disconnected connections, we are able to think we are sharing in our world because we involve ourselves in a communication mechanism that crosses county lines, state lines and even oceans.  So, because we’re able to reach across channels that we couldn’t reach 15 years ago without a major bill from MCI, we think we’re doing something.  We think we’re connected.  We’re tweeting and facebooking and LinkedIn and YouTubed and Meeting Up and texting and all that.  We’ve got more social media connections than we do time.  Yet, we fall into this dichotomy of disconnected connections.  With all the means and platforms out there to connect shouldn’t we be more bonded and living the true meaning of this being a “small world”?

For the most part, the world has become connected through the advancement of technology, but as individuals, I believe we have become so disconnected because instead of using our devices to leverage our bonds and connect to different people or cultures that we may not otherwise experience, we, as a society, use these devices and platforms as difference barriers that we hide behind.   It’s easier to throw a rock at a man while standing behind a fence than to stand directly in front of that man and throw the same rock at him.  (Of course, I’m speaking in general and not in consideration for the inhumane and evil souls that will “throw a rock” at whomever, whenever).  Our devices have somehow become a means for disengaging and focusing on issues that divide us so that we can throw rocks.  People can tweet some pretty bold and crazy remarks or write an audacious status on Facebook but that same person would never say the same to a persons face.  Some of these same people can’t even speak in public or even ask a question in a meeting because they’re afraid to speak or can’t find the words to express themselves.  (Again, I’m generalizing for those who are open by any means, but we all know these people.)  And, unfortunately, most of these people aren’t offering words of wisdom as Wilson did in Home Improvement (Tim Allen’s neighbor who was usually behind a fence, was multi-cultural in travels and studies, and used such knowledge to share wisdom and help resolve Tim’s problems). If only Wilson was able to tweet such words of wisdom to the world.

Do not get me wrong.  I love my devices.  I love social media.  But, I also love connections.  Real connections.  Connections that are even made through these devices.  Connections that bring the human element out of those devices and turn them into bonds.  Connections that plan parties, reunions, book clubs and bring people face to face.  Actual connections.  When we use the devices as a means for connectivity, we optimize the benefits and opportunities to create meaningful bonds that coat our human existence.  We form momentous relationships that can tear down barriers of differences.  We connect.

We don’t need to ban our tools and devices for connection.  But, we must learn to use them as a leverage for bridging our society together and forming the bonds that we all have in common.  As I shared before, we have way more in common than we have in differences.  Don’t let our means for greater connectivity be the means for disengaged, disconnected existence.  Let’s not hide behind our devices as the barriers of differences but leverage our platforms as bringing forth that common element.  COexist! COnnect.  Notice how those two words are even bonded in similarities.  Find your “CO” in each other.

Connections. Make a real one today.  That’s What’s Up!


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