Now, I'll be the first one to lament about a generation grasping for iPads before their first books and a mass of working people wrapped up in blue light every commute. But lately, I've been thinking that it's too hasty of a criticism to denounce all technology as antisocial and detrimental. When a child learns new words, does it matter if its from a screen or a book as long as he or she takes that knowledge and builds a better world? Do smart phones on the daily bus rides create mindless drones, or is there something else going on? Each commuter could be learning about the world around them, letting a loved one know they are almost home and can't wait to see their face, or listening to a song that inspires them to keep fighting for their dream. Then again, they could all be playing Candy Crush, but I'm trying to look on the bright side of this.
For me, there will always be value in complete escape from the electronic world and its incessant notifications and messages. I will always feel a freedom deep in the woods and far away from the constant influxes of information. And I think it's vital that we never lose sight of the value of face to face and physical interactions. If we ever lose ourselves behind the screens, we will lose something essential. However, I'm starting to appreciate the connections that this global web can offer. We can learn, we can experience, we can stay with each other.
Last Wednesday, I got a Facebook notification for a post in my group of college friends. "Beer Wednesday anyone?" A smile instantly snapped onto my face. Beer Wednesday had been a tradition throughout undergrad. We would sit around some cramped dorm in a circle, crack open a cold one, and go around telling one rose (good thing) and one thorn (bad thing) from the past week. After the post went up, we each shared our roses and thorns and spread them across timezones for everyone to read. Some were serious, some were hilarious, some were simple. All were wonderful. This technology we take for granted so often had provided something invaluable. It had brought a geographically scattered group of friends into one place to share and listen to their recent stories. It had brought us together.