Communication: technology can't beat the personal touch – Isle of Wight County Press

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A Zoom meeting in progress – but it’s simply not the same as meeting in person.
THE irony in these days when it is possible to communicate 24 hours a day via small hand-held devices and thin tablets, is that people have never been less aware of what is going on in their towns and villages, while their families have grown and flown far and wide, safe in the knowledge that there is always Facetime or Zoom.
The above springs from the fact that without local shops, schools, doctors, dentists, cafes, churches, playgroups, community centres or parks, people don’t meet each other any more.
People don’t bump into each other, stop and have a natter.
Keepsakes such as wedding invitations, congratulations, postcards, love letters, birthday cards, thank you notes, good luck cards etc are slowly going digital. You can’t keep them in a shoebox for future generations.
GPs are coming under fire for not seeing enough people face-to-face and indeed it does seem that huge swathes of people are finding it impossible to navigate the technology put in place to point patients to the right professional.
I am in my mid-fifties. We were not taught computer skills at school. Everything I have learned has been on the job, so to speak.
I can only imagine how confusing and nonsensical trying to navigate the e-consult system must be for those in their late eighties, the very group that probably need help urgently and are least likely to make a fuss.
Life and people are messy, unlike computers. People are unpredictable, individual, take time and patience.
Computers and tick boxes make life much easier. But for whom and at what cost to humanity?
If you don’t use it, you lose it is an old, but true maxim.
If we don’t keep communicating face-to-face with each other as humans, navigate rough patches, work out solutions, have our own tool kit to deal with relationships whether they be professional, family or friend, without hiding behind keyboards and tick boxes, then we lose what it is to have humanity in a human world.
When algorithms determine what represents a priority, then Houston, we have a major attitude problem.
The whole evolution of the human race has been a story of tribes, hamlets, villages and communities.
That is how we function based upon centuries of the human story.
It occurs to me that the very innovations which are designed to help us communicate, to shop, to research, to learn, are the very innovations that are breaking down social fabric and the way we live.
Brilliant as technology is, it doesn’t have a heart. It is binary, it is yes or no, it is black or white.
We as humans are infinite in our variety, and don’t fit very well into digital boxes.
So let’s remember to knock on our neighbour’s door and check they are okay.
Let’s say hello to people. Let’s embrace technology for how it can help, but never forget the touch, a smile and a hug mean more than any tap on a keyboard can.
Merry Christmas everyone.
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