"To be or not to be" connected


"To be or not to be" connected
by msabaye

When I came to Canada, my main mode of communication with all my friends was writing letters; there was no email, and phone was very expensive. I wrote three to five letters every week and mailed them. It would take somewhere between two weeks to one and a half months for the letters to get to Europe or Iran and back. Every week, I received letters. I was always updated on how my friends were doing, news and well-being of their families, and specific details as how they felt at different times, what flowers they planted in their garden as the seasons changed, their latest artistic creations, who visited them, etc. I had a strong sense of having friends and knowing them very well. I often thought that it would have been great if there were faster, easier modes of communication than letter writing.

Twenty years later, I am still living in Canada. Phoning is extremely cheap, my friends and I all have access to internet and email. It is easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family. Did "fast and easy modes of communication" translate into "frequent or regular" communications?

A friend of mine visited me this summer. One that I used to correspond with via letters regularly. I noticed that I barely knew her. I had no idea what her children did after our last phone call which happened about two years ago. I had no idea what was on her mind these days (rather, these years), I discovered that she had resumed some of her old hobbies and acquired new ones only when she came to visit me. Yes, I receive emails from her, and she receives emails from me. Most of them are about a piece of news, or a petition, or warnings about dangers of just about anything including baby carrots, cell-phones, or coke; you know the type of emails that have no name, no data or scientific facts.

What has happened? I cannot blame the internet or email. If anything, they have made it easier and faster to communicate. Why do we feel the urge to warn our friends, acquaintances, and perhaps just about anybody about pieces of news they might have already received from others? Do we find an equal urge to write to them personally and share whatever we need to share with one specific friend? Is it the necessity/priority of being connected to information that keeps us from connecting more personally? Or is that we are just growing more impersonal?

I am frightened. I worry that we are growing farther apart and not closer. We keep creating means to connect and communicate faster, easier, and with a great number of people simultaneously. I guess we now need to create a device that gets us to pause, to think of one person at a time, and to motivate us to connect to one person at any given time. What is more important?

Perhaps, my experience is an isolated one. Do you feel connected more than before?


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Anahid Hojjati

Dear che khabar, contradict, contradict as you like even

by Anahid Hojjati on

Dear che khabar, contradict, contradict as you like even I do that to myself.  Couple nights ago friend of mine whom I had not heard from for weeks chatted with me thru facebook.  I was happy to hear personal details of her life such as her daughter being a very good student.  I also obtained some info like knowing that people in Iran are using Proxy to go around facebook filtering.  So there need not be a conflict between sharing general informtion and also personal info about our friends in one communication.

che khabar e

a sad fact

by che khabar e on

That letter writing is gone for the most part.  Mouse, I admire that you still write letters.  Continue to do so.  And I don't think it's just for the older generation.  I still receive letters and they are among my most treasured possessions. 

Not to contradict Anahid but I (me, my opinion) think that I WOULD rather hear about my friend's personal life than hard-core news all the time.  It's those little things that keep you connected.  Realize I'm talking about personal relationships like the friend you haven't seen in 20 years.

I was without internet for about 2 weeks and it was the best 2 weeks I've ever had.  I read more, I talked to family and friends more, I worked more, I LIVED more.  Try it,  you might like it.  :-)


No matter what....

by yolanda on

No matter what, I will have to have an Internet 'cause my life will be incomplete without an Internet connection! Just don't become too crazy about it.

thanks for this article, very down-to-earth!



I used to write a lot

by Anonymouse on

I used to write a lot of letters too, I still do, not that many but still for older family members who don't use email :-)

Unfortunately email and cellphones are bad influences.  I have the luxury of not texting or forwarding the warning emails but the younger generation or the older generation who is now suddenly single see these modes of communication as suddenly hip!

Perhaps generation Z will kick the habit not wanting to use "your parents" modes of communications! 

Everything is sacred.

Anahid Hojjati

Dear msabeye, communication devices are just tools

by Anahid Hojjati on

Dear msabeye, you have written an excellent article.  We have to remember that all these communication devices are just tools.  It is up to each of us to use them to enhance our communication. It maybe in this day and age, people have collectively decided that exchanaging news is more important for them than knowing exact details about what their friends are up to. For instance, if a friend e-mails me from Iran, do you think I would be more interested to know some first hand news about recent political events or the fact that these days, she has taken up sewing. I think most readers know the answer. You had this question in your article:"Is it the necessity/priority of being connected to information that keeps us from connecting more personal?" In my opinion ansewr is yes and the reason is that it is the information that we are seeking which will determine many personal details in future of us and our friends. So actually by being more in search of information rather than keeping up with latest personal news, we are being forward looking which is not bad per se.

Multiple Personality Disorder

connected less

by Multiple Personality Disorder on