“A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Somehow this old saying is very true. I think it is very hard to find real friends these days especially when the world is becoming more and more digitalized. This is a pretty bold statement for someone who does not really understand the digital world. What is the connection between a digitalized world and the difficulties finding a true friend? Let me explain this.
I come from the part of the world where oral tradition is the way we pass our story to the next generations. Oral tradition means that story telling plays an important part in the making of the nation’s history. This might not be the best way of keeping good track of what really happens in the past but it involves feeling and personal relation. In an oral tradition you you can see the expression on their faces when they are telling their stories. It’s not a dead cold story, it’s a story with emotions and human dynamics.
Let me give you an example of what happens in this story telling community. If someone in the family just came home from traveling, the whole family will sit together and listen to the story. The story will not consist only facts, but also feelings, in fact the feelings play an important role in the creation of the story. My family has this eating out tradition whenever my dad returned from traveling abroad. He will not tell the story of what has happened during his travel but wait until the ‘ritual’ was played and told the story then. He never sent postcards or emails and only tell his stories during this eating out event. I also find this similar tradition in some families in the Netherlands, that everyone will gather and listen to the story of their vakantie.
Now internet is an easy way to communicate. In a writing-styled culture people would send letters and postcards to their loved ones. When they meet after their travel the tradition of telling a story is sometimes done but its not an obligatory. Sometimes people already tell everything through emails. Smilies and emoticons were made to help people show their emotions in their cold and emotionless words.
I can give you another example of the difference between those two. In a story telling community, when a person wants to go to a new place she/he will ask other people about their experience or opinion on that particular place. In internet society people would google the place. The first type will involve their feelings and experiences besides the facts of the place. The second will see lots of facts and make their opinion based on those facts.
Now think about those two different way of telling stories in a friendship context. Thanks to technology, people could have more friends through the internet. You can even have a consultation through internet without having the troubles meeting the other person personally. The bad thing about this, I think, is that you can write anything you want without sharing your emotion. You can write ‘hahahahahaha’ or while you think its actually not funny or even sad. You can’t do this when you are meeting the person face to face.
The fact is that our brain is also trained to recognize emotions through faces. We are trained to see people make different faces when they are upset, happy, sad, etc. How will you be able to recognize the other’s true emotion if you were chatting with her/him? We became fully dependent on the honesty of the other person to show their emotions through emoticons. This is why I prefer phone calls than messaging and pictures instead words. However some will say that webcams can solve this problem.
Now, I find it difficult to find true friends in this internet world because everyone is so busy and only connected by internet. You can only meet your friends if you have an appointment and appointments are hard to make. I’m used to hang out with lots of friends and just having fun. But even now your next door neighbor feels disturbed when you’re having an occasional fun with your friends. Arrrgghhhh!!!!!!!
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