Social Paradigms: An Ever Evolving Dilemma

love letter

A long, long time ago, way back in the 90s, I attended a seminar on the evolution of technology in our modern, high tech world. The phrase used to explain how human beings respond to our ever expanding technical world at the time was “high tech/high touch” and not, coincidentally, the name of the seminar.   Supposedly, the more high tech we become, the more necessary it is that we experience high touch. The presenter, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, posited the idea that the more email we send (high tech), the more desirous we become to write long letters using pen and paper (high touch). The more dependent on technology we become to assist in our work, the more touch-y we would become in our personal lives.

There was life before smart stuff.

Even before the advent of smart phones, the IPad, and various other tablet conveniences, I scoffed at the idea that we (meaning I) would revert to the long-handed version of communicating via snail mail rather than the almost instantaneous gratification of email. Yes, there is something to be said for flowery, perfumed stationary, but if push comes to shove, I’m afraid I would have to say that email is pretty much here to stay. (Notice the rather long-winded and round-about way I said that? I believe that is the high tech version of high touch.) In other words, the more remote we become through technology, the more necessary it will be to connect with our fellow humans, to reach out and touch someone–and not just over the phone.

Cable was already a part of our lives in the 90s. We’d already become inured to the idea that we could stay at home to watch a movie rather than go out; date night could be accomplished with a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV, a small TV, granted, but nonetheless a TV. (I’m not even going to go there with the high tech/high touch in front of the TV. My point is inside, not outside. . . Oh, forget it!)


Now, here we are in 2013, and I believe we are decidedly more high tech than high touch. We can do almost anything remotely–and I do mean anything. It is not only possible to carry on a relationship long distance and virtually, but for some of us, it is preferable.  Skype and FaceTime make it very easy to carry on a face-to-face conversation, to interact with our friends and loved ones in a very meaningful way regardless of the miles, or the rooms, that separate us. We can be on Mars (it could happen!) or in the next room and not have to suffer from high touch deprivation. High tech gives us the sense of high touch.

Life is constantly changing right along with technology, because of it and in spite of it. The ease with which we carry on our daily lives enables us to experience more free time. For some of us, that free time might be spent out and about with other humans (high touch?). For others, that free time gives us a chance to do even more fun things on the internet (more high tech? Or is that high touch with the things that bring us joy?). Technology gives me the freedom to exist in a very happy and meaningful way from within my comfy cave. I don’t feel strapped to my desk and my computer, I feel blissfully joined. I have a pretty cool life right at my fingertips. Hey, maybe that’s what she meant after all: fingers to keyboard. High touch/high tech.

Just for fun!

George Lucas and Steven Speilberg are, apparently, predicting the implosion of the movie industry. Here is the link–just in case you missed the short article at Speakeasy.

Today’s Friday! Have a great weekend and if I don’t see you until Monday, have fun seeing Man of Steel! Don’t forget to take today’s poll. And leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from you.


4 responses to “Social Paradigms: An Ever Evolving Dilemma

  1. FROM CARRIE WOOD: [This comment was made at Poll Daddy. I wanted to make sure other readers at Cave Dweller could see it.]

    I think technology has made us less interactive with people. I think because people (friends/loved ones) were not as accessible we would spend more physical time with them rather than time with them in front of the computer or on face time. Talking with someone on the phone only goes so far with connecting or actually feeling like your connected with someone. I remember going to friends houses more often when I did not see them as much because I wanted to see them and talk. Now I can turn on Facebook and see their faces and find out everything that has been going on with them. I think that is the younger generation’s version of friendship, love, relationships, and interaction with each other. To them your not really in a relationship until you change your status in Facebook. I think we should spend a little more time in the presence of real people rather than texting and face timing.


  2. FROM BARBARA TATE : 3 hours ago [This comment was posted at Poll Daddy.]

    Finally had to get the Internet because of my writing. Publishing has changed so much I had to do something if I wanted to keep up–but I did it kicking and screaming. Now I’m just screaming and crying on how to do things.


  3. My dilemma…answering this poll was tricky. Yes, I feel that I am more connect “because” of technology not “through” it. I am not convinced that socially, technology is helping me in any way, as it seems to make my own cave dweller more stubborn, if that’s possible. Sure, it’s true that since I have moved across the country away from my ENTIRE family, I am relying on technology to keep in touch and without it I would feel more isolated and out of touch than I do with it. However, I also use it as a crutch! Instead of a phone call that will last 30 minutes or a have awkward moments of silence, I can send a text (a one up on the instant gratification of email) and the conversation can last 30 seconds or 30 minutes, but without interrupting the rest of my still busy life. For those my age (40 something’s), we didn’t have the time when work and home were separate. We grew up inventing, spearheading and colonizing the work/home hybrid. Cave Dweller sees technology as it was sold to them as providing more “free time”, where technology allow for less “work” as it streamlines business. I will admit there is less of that work to be done. But now work can reach me anytime of the day or night. Instead of the boss having an idea (11pm) on how to decrease the delivery time on project and sending a memo the next morning with the expectation of a full discussion by noon. They send an email at 11:30 pm and expect answers no later than first thing in the morning. The technology that has made our live easier have also made them more stressful. Likewise, I believe that it is a result of the hybrid my generation created that instigated the creation of communication methods much less interactive than email. This hybrid meant that like the handwritten letter it was going to be and ongoing conversation, but who has time. So instead of talking back and forth with a few people, how about I post what I am doing, “my status” in a given moment for everyone I know to see! If they are interested they can tell me if not they can ignore me. Can you sense the decline in awkward silence? Me either, now I am not sure if my post went unnoticed, there is a technical problem or is ply no one cares. Ok so I’ll increase the people I interact with (friend) and add another method where I can only say a few words instead of a whole status and I’ll make this one public…chirp, chirp. Crap, still nothing! So, now I’m wasting even more of the “free time” worrying about whether or not there is something wrong with what I typed. “Cld da prob b that my mess was 2 cryptic & no1 got da pic?” Better idea…I’ll send a Picture and a short caption! That will tell the whole story and I can send it to all three places, surely that will help…everyone knows a picture is worth a thousand words…Right?

    My point is that I now “keep in touch” with far more people than ever, gypsie family growing up long story! But I really don’t feel any more connected than before…except to my boss that is! Oh wait…I solved that problem too…I became my own boss…wait…crap now I don’t even get the email I just start the research at 11:30pm! Anybody sleep lately?

    Bottom line, Call your Mom if you can’t be there to hug her and that goes for Dad too, especially with Father’s Day tomorrow! Oh and Brothers love hearing from their sisters, even with the awkward silence! That’s another gift ushered in by my generation…does anyone younger than me even know what long distance phone charges are?


  4. Thanks for your comment, Chris. Sounds like technology has both improved and invaded your life, much as it has mine. Seems like the only time I really get a “time out” is if I forget my phone when I leave the house. Then I feel strangely out of touch–but it’s blissfully quiet, if only for a little while.


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