Gadgets and technology: Are we embracing techno fads rather than each other?

Posted on: 14 December 2010 by Rhian Mainwaring

Do mobile phones drive you crazy? Is skyping annoying, texting impossible and an email a waste of time? While these technologies have become a necessity to modern life, would you rather live without them?

Embrace technologyThe mobile phone has benefitted our lives in many ways, but it also drives us crazy, what ever happened to making plans and sticking to them? It has given us the ability to be late, to change plans at the last minute and to cancel, as well as being more vague about arrangements, "call me when you get there" has replaced "I'll meet you at the Red Lion at 5.30!"

Then there’s social media, yes it’s fantastic, we can keep in touch with people around the world and reconnect with people we’d never have spoken to again, but we miss birthday cards and party invitations arriving in the post rather than an e-card in our inbox. You can even text Santa now, he must have a really good tariff.

We also miss sitting in the hall on the landline for a long chat with a loved one. Nowadays phone calls are made on mobiles when there’s a spare minute, on the way to the supermarket or picking the kids up from school. We’re rushed, and there’s an argument that we’re making less and less time for loved ones, even though the technology available should bring us closer together.

Do chat rooms and forums make up for the lack of face to face relationships? Are social networks ironically pushing us further apart? Have we become lazy or are our lives just too busy? Nescafe conducted a study to discover what people thought on this topic and their results were pretty conclusive; we don’t see enough of each other and that leaves us feeling guilty!

Of the 1030 people Future Laboratory questioned, 95% were dissatisfied with the amount of ‘real’ time spent with friends and family with 58% of the group preferring face to face conversations above all other forms of communication. When it comes to social media 31% said that they waste precious time browsing online with no clear purpose and 25% of the group were concerned that they were too dependent on technology for their social connections.

So with that in mind and Christmas on the way we couldn’t think of a better time to reconnect, here’s our tips on that personal touch.

  • Have a party. Get your nearest and dearest all in one place and let them know how special they are to you. It doesn’t need to be all night long, a happy hour between 5-7pm is perfect. This way wine and mince pies is all you need and you don’t need to organise 20 nights out to reconnect.
  • Go retro. Write letters at Christmas to your family and friends, they don’t need to be novels but there’s nothing like receiving a letter in the post. If you don’t have the time (that’s pretty much everyone) make sure you at least hand sign the card or the newsletter, computer printed sign offs are impersonal and a waste of the card you sent it on!
  •  Organise! Pick a date, whether it’s every Thursday or the first Monday of the month to meet up with a group or to have a full uninterrupted conversation with someone. Putting the time aside means all of your minds will be on the same thing. Quality rather than quantity here!
  • Don’t feel guilty! It’s easier said than done, but we seem to spend more time worrying than doing. Your life is busy and complicated, so is everyone else’s, it doesn’t mean we love each other less.

Remember this!

We’d love to hear what you thought of the different lines of communication now available to us. Do you remember getting your first telephone? Do you still write letters every Christmas? Perhaps you think social media has only improved relationships – let us know below…

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How do you keep in touch with your loved ones?

We'd like to know whether new technology is helping or hindering relationships...

  1. 42% Telphone (mobile)
  2. 26% Telephone (landline)
  3. 21% Email
  4. 10% Social media (facebook/twitter)
  5. 0% Skype
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