Look at how small the world has shrunk; the size of the mobile device in your hands. The world has never being smaller than it is today, a global village indeed. Communication from eons ago has never being this easy nor accessible at a given time to all and sundry. The internet is one of the best things to have happened to mankind with just a click you are chatting with a relative in Hong Kong, streaming a live show on you tube or just taking a degree course in a school far away.
We have all caught up in the new wave of social media and networking which advantages include; inexpensive means of socializing, enhancement of real life social skills, creation of positive self- image, source of self-promotion, means to promote business, address important issues and has no limitations of physical boundaries. The wonders of technology cuts across all spheres fast tracking our lives in every way but then it has always struck me as odd that with better communication available to all why not we have better relationships, allies or businesses? What is the quality of relationship these days? Is it weighed by the frequency of chats, e-mails and pings or the number of “online friends”`? Has easy communication made it difficult for us to value our friendships and relationships? Are our value systems, cultures and beliefs being transferred to our off springs by us? All of these are questions we should ask ourselves.
Honestly, it’s hard to tell these days the value we place on our relationships with social media and networking as its peak ;with BBM, linkedin, twitter, Facebook ,Hi5, Badoo, MySpace etc the world at your fingertips but yet real friends are as hard to come by as a honest Nigerian.
However, recent research has shown that participants that use social media to fulfill perceived social needs are typically disappointed. Lonely individuals are drawn to the internet for emotional support but this causes problems as it interferes with “real life socializing” (Source: Wikipedia). Consequently, with all of the merits of social media and networking there are also pitfalls such as social network addiction, privacy issues which can be used for identity theft ,Cyber-Bullying, spreading negative sentiments etc.
Now looking back to my childhood days, friendships were grown and lived beyond communication barriers and distance. Those were experiences we all look back at and cherish; I couldn’t ping my friends but I had so much joy playing “ten-ten” and “suwe” now that’s real life socializing. We were not too busy starring at phone/computer screens to sing native songs and listen to folklore from our parents. There were also episodes of “love letter” writing in schools, it was a big deal then getting a love letter from a crush or not so wanted crush …WOW!!! You would gather your friends together and everyone oohs on every single word and secretly wishes it were them that got a love letter. it was that big a deal.
Thinking of it now, friendships then were tested and trusted. A good friend of mine told me once of how she wrote letters to her cousin in Kano and had to wait for anyone she knew travelling to Kano just to deliver a letter. These days it’s just a ping, face book message or at worse an email away. But I can bet her cousin definitely had much joy reading a much awaited letter than the next Whatsapp/BBM ping u are reading right now.
Don’t get it twisted I love the new innovations in communication technology as much as everyone else out there but truthfully I really miss the old fashioned ways a times and there’s a thrill and something really cute and romantic about writing a letter for instance. It has a tendency to bring you all out, expressing yourself and pouring out your heart to the receiver in more ways than one. You write like it’s your last, living in that moment and your letter travels with envelopes as wings to your loved one.
Communicating in a few seconds is great but a dive in the old ways of hollering could be magical every once in a while. This is an angle to look at your friendships and definitely a good way to spice up your relationship. So my people, unearth those long forgotten writing materials and put some words down to your grannies, mum, dad, siblings, friends, boo, babe or even your boss telling him about that much needed raise you deserve.
Photo Credit: manespeak.com
Enita Akpojevwe is a Nigerian seeking change and finding her pathway in our beloved country. A Civil Engineer by day whose first love is writing and passion cooking. You can follow me @Akenitta